LONDON: Sacked FIFA governance supremo Miguel Maduro has confirmed publicly all the evidence obvious over the last 18 months that the world football federation has not only halted the reform process but reversed writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Maduro described for a UK parliamentary committee how independent oversight by judicial committees had been banished under Gianni Infantino, out of concern for upsetting the 2018 World Cup in Russia which is crucial to revenues going forward.
The former Portuguese goverment minister had impeccable credentials after having served as Maduro advocate-aeneral at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg from 2003 to 2009.
However his independence of mind and spirit was too much for Infantino – successor to banned and disgraced Sepp Blatter. Congress in May, at Infantino’s behest, removed Maduro after barely 16 months in the role.
Maduro spent more than an hour giving evidence to MPs on the select committee
But Maduro had a dismal report to deliver to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee at the House of Commons.
He said: “There is a culture in the institution itself that is extremely resistant to accountability.”
Maduro believed Infantino had preferred to “politically survive” rather than protect independent bodies, and stopped speaking to him after Maduro refused to ratify Russia’s Vitaly Mutko to continue in his long-standing role on the FIFA Council.
Mutko’s status as a deputy prime minister conflicted with hisability to fulfil a sporting role within FIFA.
Maduro also alleged:
FIFA has a culture of governance that is “a system of rules without the rule of law”.
Without “systemic culture changes”, things will stay the same.
Some confederations tried to block full implementation of new rules on electing female committee members.
Half of the governance committee are currently not independent, as required.
In elections, different coloured pens could be distributed to identify how people vote.
Maduro was sacked, along with ethics heads Cornel Borbely and Hans-Joachim Eckert, because FIFA wanted to “better reflect the geographic and gender diversity that must be a part of an international organisation”.
Select committee chair Damian Collins told Wednesday’s hearing that – in a further demonstration of FIFA secrecy and fear – Borbely had been prevented from giving evidence to MPs.
Maduro commented: “To say he is prevented from speaking is in itself extremely surprising in the least. What is more revealing is the answer was supplied by the secretary general.”
The session will form part of the committee’s ongoing inquiry into sports governance. A final report is due to be published later in the autumn.