KEIR RADNEDGE from MAURITIUS
PORT LOUIS: The man charged with keeping FIFA on the financial straight and narrow has just read the riot act to the world federation’s own finance committee in the wake of the CONCACAF scandal.
Swiss industrialist Domenico Scala was appointed last May as chairman of the audit and compliance committee created by the reform process launched in 2011.
The worst aspect of his first year was reading the recent integrity report by Sir David Simmons into the financial affairs of the Central and North American confederation under Jack Warner and Chuck Blazer.
Simmons, a former Barbados Chief Justice, is chairman of CONCACAF’s independent integrity committee.
Trinidadian Warner was president of CONCACAF for two decades until quitting football in 2011 over bribery allegations. Blazer resigned as general secretary last December and was suspended by FIFA’s ethics chiefs within five days of the Simmons report’s publication.
Both men stand accused of misuse of funds, allegations they have always denied.
Scala has not been impressed by those denials.
At a rare media briefing today he pulled no punches.
Scala said: “If you read the CONCACAF integrity report it does not say anything positive, polite. It’s a horrible document and therefore, what Jack Warner and Chuck Blazer are saying to me today is frankly useless and worthless because they have, over an extended period of time, abused the system.”
He hoped similar cases would not erupt from within other confederations.
Scala: “I cannot judge on the other cases as I have no insights apart from what has ben published by the ethics committee. It is a stretch to say what happens in CONCACAF happens in all confederations . . . Do we have, at FIFA, other cases like that of which we don’t know?
“Maybe. I don’t know.
“But we have to be very careful of accusing everybody because we have had 10 years of accusations and allegations and suspicions. Neither the audit and compliance or ethics committees can make a judgment on what has been heard and said. We need facts.
“In the case of Jack Warner and Chuck Blazer this has far bigger implications than just the ethics committee and rule of the game and so on.
“There is sufficient suspicion that they have gone against the law and this will become an issue for the FBI and for the IRS in the case of taxations. So here the ethics committee and FIFA world stops and people who are against the law will to deal with the law.”
On the back of the CONCACAF issue, Scala told FIFA’s finance committee here on Monday exactly how rigorously he expected the world federation to control its expenditure.
This includes developing and installing effective systems to ensure that, in future, all development monies are secured. That same meeting on Monday ordered a halt to seven projects worldwide because of accounting concerns.
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