KEIR RADNEDGE in MEXICO CITY: Mark Pieth, the Basel criminology professor who was world football’s original reform guru, has been stunned at the resignation of Domenico Scala amid the wreckage of all his hard work.
Here in Mexico City yesterday new president Gianni Infantino and the revamped FIFA Council obtained a regulations change which removed the independence of the ethics and audit/compliance committees which have led the way out of last year’s scandal-battered chaos.
This wiped away the protection of independence of ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, investigating prosecutor Cornel Borbely and Scala who had been audit and compliance chairman.
Earlier Scala had warned congress about the continuing need for a change of culture to match a change in statutes. His warning words were not merely unheeded but snubbed.
In a news conference Infantino defended the move as a means to speed the removal of bad apples from the committee barrels. However this made no sense since simpler administrative options were available.
Pieth said: “This is basically aiming at the centre piece of the reforms, going against the independence of the audit and compliance committee.
“The audit committee has some control over the president, ceo and the council. It’s not impeachment but it’s undermining audit and compliance.”
Pieth suggested a row over the president’s pay was one issue at the source of the power battle between Infantino and Scala. Presidential predecessor Sepp Blatter, at his departure, was being paid a basic $3.76m-a-year but Infantino was offered ‘only’ $2m by a remuneration committee headed by Scala.
He said: “He [Infantino] is like a dictator offended because maybe he thinks he is not getting enough money . . . $2m is not enough. That’s what caused the offence.”
Scala may also have been unhappily surprised by the speed with which Infantino moved to appoint Fatma Soumara as secretary-general. The Swiss businessman had expected that a formal head-hunting process would take until well into the autumn.
The expectation had been that the new secretary-general would be such a key central figure as to be worth a larger salary than the president. However Soumara’s lack of track record in the spheres of rights negotiations and sports event supervision suggest that Infantino either wants to retain authority for himself or has further supporting appointments in mind.
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