The aftermath of the FIFA corruption scandal continues on, with the resignation last week of Domenico Scala, chair of FIFA’s audit and compliance committee.
Scala resigned in protest over a governance change made at the international governing body of professional soccer. That change—passed by a vote of 186-1—gave the new FIFA Council the power to dismiss the heads of FIFA’s independent bodies—the audit and compliance committee and two chambers of the ethics committee. The FIFA Council replaced the former executive committee and is headed by new FIFA president, Gianni Infantino.
With this decision, the change means that it’s now “possible for the Council to impede investigations against single members at any time by dismissing the responsible committee members or by keeping them acquiescent through the threat of a dismissal,” Scala said. “The bodies are factually deprived of their independence and are in danger of becoming auxiliary agents of those whom they should actually supervise.”
In a response statement, FIFA said that Scala “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,” FIFA stated. “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,” FIFA added. “Scala has made unfounded claims which are baseless.”
Pending the appointment of a new chairman of the audit and compliance committee, current Deputy Chairman Sindi Mabaso Koyana will serve as acting chair.
The appointments of all members of the FIFA audit and compliance committee and FIFA’s judiciary bodies are subject to strict eligibility checks by the independent FIFA review committee, whose members are elected by the FIFA Congress.
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, FIFA said, is designed to protect the organization against any conflict of interest in the approval of any appointments to the key committees and bodies.