KEIR RADNEDGE in Warsaw: Pierre Cornu, UEFA’s anti-corruption chief, is to leave the European federation after the conclusion of the European Championship finals. UEFA has reportedly attributed Cornu’s departure to family reasons but speculation about his status has been circulating since last November.
Cornu’s role as ‘chief legal counsel for integrity and regulatory affairs,’ which he took up last June, placed him in a complex position in the highly politicised world of international football. He came in for heavy criticism for his robust approach over both the Sion transfer row and then the Turkish matchfixing scandal.
Representatives of both Swiss club Sion and a number of Turkish clubs – including 2011 champions Fenerbahce – considered Cornu a barrier to attempts to reach compromise solutions but they may also consider him a scapegoat for the embarrassments and distractions generated by his inquiries.
His departure may also be interpreted as a further expression of the difficulties and frustrations facing a sports organisation in pursuing with limited powers what are, largely, criminal activities. Last month Australian former policeman Chris Eaton quit a similar anti-corruption role at world federation FIFA in favour of a position with the privately-owned, Qatar-based security adviser ICSS.
Cornu graduated from Neuchatel University in 1983, qualified to practise in law in 1985 and spent 10 years as an investigating magistrate before becoming general prosecutor with the cantonal legal department in 1997. He left that role to join UEFA. Along the way Cornu had been president of the Swiss football association’s control and disciplinary committee from 1993 to 2009 when he became president of its sports court.
UEFA controls a betting fraud detection system which monitors irregular betting patterns across its 1,800 matches and 28,000 domestic fixtures in Europe. It has been reported as investing €5m-a-year in counter-corruption measures.
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