SYDNEY: Bonita Mersiades, one of the two whistleblowers dismissed in Hans-Joachim Eckert’s infamous World Cup bid scandal summary, has demanded worldwide sport and governmental action to bring the present FIFA leadership crashing down.
Australian Mersiades was reacting to the resignation of American Michael Garcia as ethics investigator in protest at FIFA’s ‘lack of leaderships on ethics issues.
Mersiades had been communications director for the Australia bid to host the 2022 World Cup but was sacked over a divergence of opinion over the contracting and strategies of European consultants.
She and Qatar bid whistleblower Phaedra Almajhid gave evidence to Garcia about the bidding process. Both saw statements dismissed by Eckert who, in the process, effectively breached promise of confidentiality they had been given by Garcia.
Mersiades considers the reform of FIFA “into a democratic, transparent and accountable organisation” as the No1 issue in world football.
She said: “Football fans and players should unite and say ‘enough is enough’. It is time for a new FIFA. We should put pressure on our football associations, the sponsors, the broadcasters and our governments to intervene to demand this also.
“FIFA is not a private organisation. The people who run it do not own it – or the sport we love. They are the custodians of football for the many millions who play the game and the billions who love it.
“FIFA and its executive committee conduct its stewardship of the game without accountability to anyone other than themselves.”
Mersiades welcomed the statement by Garcia’s resignation. It followed earlier resignations of Judge Gunter Hirsch from the previous ethics committee and of Alexandra Wrage from the reform-guidance committee.
She added: “I also welcome the fact that Mike Garcia agrees with what many of us have long stated – that FIFA is incapable of reform or cultural change with its current leadership.
“To achieve the change that is necessary, we should seek an interim administration led by an eminent person with a broad mandate to review and develop the constitution, statutes, codes and operational policies and practices, develop new governance arrangements including governance-related committees, and conduct elections for an executive committee including a new president.”