News 16th May 2016

Scala resigns, arguing FIFA has eroded independence of ethics bodies

Domenico Scala has resigned over changes introduced at last week’s FIFA Congress in Mexico city, which he argues eroded the independence of its ethics bodies. Scala’s resignation is in protest at the fact that the new FIFA Council has been given control over who is appointed to FIFA’s independent monitoring bodies, who previously had control over their own staffing.

‘The FIFA Congress has delegated the election, or the dismissal respectively, of the members of the independent supervisory bodies – such as the Ethics Committee, the Appeal Committee, the Audit and Compliance Committee and the Governance Committee – to the exclusive competence of the FIFA Council’, read a statement from Scala. ‘With this decision, it will henceforth be possible for the Council to impede investigations against single members at any time, by dismissing the responsible Committee members or by keeping them acquiescent through the threat of a dismissal. Thereby, those bodies are deprived of their independent and are in danger of becoming auxiliary agents of those whom they should actually supervise’.

FIFA said that Scala had ‘misinterpreted’ the move. ‘The decision was made to permit the Council to appoint members on an interim basis to the vacant positions of the new committees so they can start fulfilling their roles as part of the ongoing reform process until the next FIFA Congress in 2017’, read a statement. ‘In addition, the measure allows for the swift removal of members who have breached their obligations. The Council fully respects the independence of the Audit and Compliance and the Ethics committees, and any suggestions to the contrary are without merit.’

It is understood that the proposal had not been seen by the national associations prior to being presented at Congress, yet despite this, it was voted through 186-1. ‘The Congress authorised the Council to appoint office holders for the remaining vacant positions within the judicial bodies, the Audit & Compliance Committee and the Governance Committee until the 67th FIFA Congress, and to dismiss any office holder of these committees until the 67th FIFA Congress’, it reads.

The 37-member FIFA Council will take over from the 26-person Executive Committee. However, at the moment, its membership is exactly the same as the Executive Committee it is designed to replace. As part of the reform process, the FIFA Congress elected Luís Miguel Poiares Maduro of Portugal and Mukul Mudgal of India to head the independent FIFA Review Committee, which will be responsible for conducting integrity checks on the new Council members. Justice Mudgal headed a committee that in February 2014, delivered its verdict on allegations of spot fixing in the Indian Premier League (IPL), leading to sanctions against two franchise owners, Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra.

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