KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS —- Mark Pieth, the governance expert who spent two years leading the utimately stalled FIFA reform process, has indicated ‘election games’ behind weekend reports about the outcome of his work.
Pieth’s independence was challenged by the German magazine Der Spiegel on the grounds that a draft he had submitted of his final reform report was amended by FIFA legal officers to remove sections critical of the role played by president Sepp Blatter over the ISL scandal.
In subsequent media comments Pieth, professor of criminal law at the Criminological Institute in Basel, has sought to explain the integrity of his own report while simultaneously damning the world football federation.
Initially Pieth told Swiss media that the Der Spiegel report amounted to ‘Stone Age journalism’ because it took no account of standard procedure concerning the refinement of such reports.
The independence of his reform-guiding committee had already been called into question because it included representatives of a FIFA commercial partner (François Morinière of Amaury) and a serving national association president (Sunil Gulati from the United States).
Pieth then came under fire from Der Spiegel over the removal of the Blatter/ISL references.
He countered: “The article fails to mention that of the 37 amendments suggested by [FIFA legal adviser Marco] Villiger only four contained relevant content.
“After intensive discussion in our group we agreed to the removal of five sections of which two referred to Blatter because they were factually irrelevant and might be considered prejudicial.”
Pieth suggested that the draft report issue could have been leaked either by opponents or supporters of Blatter in the forthcoming FIFA presidential election campagn. Blatter is being challenged by Prince Ali of Jordan, Holland’s Michael Van Praag and Portugal’s Luis Figo.
Pieth, who was frustrated that FIFA did not approve reform proposals for remuneration transparency and term limits, told Bloomberg: “This institution is rotten to the core. It’s not just Blatter alone. Of course Blatter carries a large part of the responsibility but it’s a much bigger problem.”
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