BASEL: Mark Pieth, the governance guru who launched the initial FIFA reforms, has described the world federation as having plumbed new depths over its response to the Russian doping scandal and ongoing resistance to change writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Pieth was commenting on the latest political twists affecting the world federation in an interview with the Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger.

He was scathing about FIFA’s acceptance of Vitaly Mutko at the head of the 2018 World Cup organising committee after the Russian Deputy Prime Minister was banned from attending by the International Olympic Committee from attending the Games.

Pieth said: “You should not be in business with this person anymore. It should be prohibited by the FIFA ethics Committee. It does not matter if it’s about footballers or other athletes. Someone like Mr Mutko has no place within FIFA. It lacks the necessary strength to take a decision.”

The decisions last May by FIFA Congress, at the behest of president Gianni Infantino, to sack the three seniors ethics and governance bosses – Cornel Borbely, Hans-Joachim Eckert and Miguel Maduro – also disappointed Pieth.

He said FIFA had appeared to be running scared of confronting serious issues and that Infantino had taken the organisation back to before the reform process began, under now-banned Sepp Blatter, in 2011.

Pieth said: “Infantino wants to accomplish absolute control over FIFA because he wants to be re-elected [in 2019]. FIFA has become a joke. It is sad.”