KEIR RADNEDGE in MEXICO CITY: FIFA has accepted the resignation of Domenico Scala and audit and compliance “with regret” and claimed he misunderstood the purpose of the controversial regulation change enacted by Congress here in Mexico City yesterday.

The Swiss businessman flew home overnight and then delivered his resignation in protest at a regulatory change which wiped out the guaranteed independence of the heads of the bodies now responsible for policing a federation brought to its knees by corruption.

However FIFA has claimed that it continues to “fully” respect the independence of the audit & compliance and ethics committees.

President Gianni Infantino defended the change in a news conference after congress as a measure merely to enable the council to remove, without delay, any members of the judicial bodies who may fall under criminal suspicion.

Until yesterday only congress could dismiss them from their posts which meant waiting many months if the persons concerned did not proffer their resignation of their own volition.

A FIFA statement said:

FIFA accepts Domenico Scala’s resignation as Chairman of the Audit & Compliance Committee with immediate effect.

FIFA regrets that Mr. Scala has misinterpreted the purpose of the decision taken by the FIFA Congress. The decision was made to permit the Council to appoint members on an interim basis to the vacant positions of the new committees so they can start fulfilling their roles as part of the ongoing reform process until the next FIFA Congress in 2017. In addition, the measure allows for the swift removal of members who have breached their obligations.

The Council fully respects the independence of the Audit and Compliance and the Ethics committees, and any suggestions to the contrary are without merit.

Mr. Scala has made unfounded claims which are baseless. FIFA is focused on reform and the path forward as evidenced by the appointment of a new FIFA Secretary General.

Pending the appointment of a new Chairman of the Audit & Compliance Committee, current Deputy Chairman Sindi Mabaso Koyana will serve as acting Chairman.

The appointments of all members of the FIFA Audit & Compliance Committee and FIFA’s judiciary bodies are subject to strict eligibility checks by the independent FIFA Review Committee. The Congress elects the members of the Review Committee.

Former European Court of Justice Advocate General Miguel Poiares Maduro, former Indian High Court judge Mukul Mudgal and former Sporting Cristal President Felipe Cantuarias Salaverry will form the first independent Review Committee.

This mechanism is designed to protect the organisation against any conflict of interest in the approval of any appointments to the key committees and bodies.