NEW YORK: Anti-corruption expert Alexandra Wrage has contradicted a senior FIFA director over the fate of a key proposal from the FIFA reform panel writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Canadian Wrage, president of TRACE International, resigned on Monday out of “frustration” at the failure to achieve significant change within the world football federation.

In a follow-up article for the business publisher Forbes, Wrage lambasted FIFA for doing “little more than polish the veneer on an outdated men’s club.”

She described the guiding Independent Governance Committee as “inaptly named” and concluded that “little has really changed back at FIFA’s headquarters in Zurich.”

Wrage said that all eight central proposals from the IGC had been rejected by the FIFA executive.

She repeated earlier criticism from IGC chairman Mark Pieth about the problems in finding acceptable candidates for the central two roles in the newly-expanded ethics committee.

In the end United States attorney Michael Garcia and German justice Hans-Joachim Eckert were named as investigating prosecutor and judge respectively.

One of Wrage’s own key proposals was that FIFA should bring “independent members on the exco in order to encourage more transparency and accountability.”

No luck again.

She said: “The exco rejected this proposal, lending weight to FIFA’s reputation as a secret society, answerable to no-one.”

Conflicting versions

Wrage’s version of events conflicts directly with a statement by German Theo Zwanziger, the former German federation president who has been steering the reform process within FIFA.

After last month’s executive committee, he told assembled media: “The [IGC] proposal was that independent people – the chairman of the audit committee and the two chairmen of the ethics committee [i.e. Garcia and Eckert] – could be observers in the exco.”

However, personalising the issue later, he added: “They don’t want to be in the executive committee.”

Zwanziger justified what he purported to be the  stance of  Garcia and Eckert because, in his opinion, “if you bring independent people into such a body [as the exco] they lose their independence – and it’s important for us that they have a certain distance to better monitor what is going on.”

The German lawyer had also said: “This is one of the few things we could not do for Professor Pieth.”

According to Wrage, nothing at all has been done for Pieth and his panel. Greater clarity may emerge at Congress in Mauritius at the end of next month.

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