KEIR RADNEDGE in MANCHESTER: UEFA believes FIFA governance guru Mark Pieth is wrong in blaming European associations for blocking the world federation’s road to reform.

Pieth has complained to the media this year that Europe’s national associations had set up a roadblock which threatened to derail his proposals to restructure the scandal-tarnished world federation.

His assertions were refuted today in Manchester by Gianni Infantino, general secretary of UEFA, speaking alongside the Soccerex European Forum.

Two weeks ago the executive committee of FIFA upset Pieth and his consultancy partners by turning down a number of his proposals, one of the most pertinent being integrity checks to vet likely directors and officials of the world body.

Pieth had responded by complaining: “The European associations want to run the integrity check themselves but, if everyone in the world kept that power for themselves, we can not continue as we are now.

Independent checks

“Why, for example, do the presidents of the Swiss and the German associations find it so difficult to accept that there should be an independent, external integrity check?”

Asked about Pieth’s assertion that UEFA was blocking the road to reform, Infantino said: “He has not been well informed.”

Infantino insisted that the European associations had been in the forefront of the movement for reform within FIFA. UEFA had no problem with the concept of integrity checks, only the manner of their implementation.

He said: “Each confederation can set up integrity checks and, anyway, we have approved the creation of the new FIFA ethics committee to do this as well – so we will have a double check in place.”

As to UEFA’s likely position on reform changes put before Congress, he added: “We will have to see what is proposed first.”

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