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Growing pains


Displeasure over salary package causes FIFA upheaval


Gianni Infantino, president of the world football governing body FIFA, has refused to sign his compensation contract of CHF2 million ($2 million) per year – half that of his predecessor Sepp Blatter. Infantino has proposed weakening the oversight body responsible for the contract. 

The SonntagsZeitung and SonntagsBlick newspapers both reported that Infantino’s dissatisfaction over his contract, drawn up and presented to him by the FIFA audit and compliance committee, was behind his decision to suggest that the committee be reformed.

Domenico Scala, the head of the commission, resigned Saturday after the 66th FIFA Congress being held in Mexico City. He stepped down to protest the passing of an amendment that gives FIFA’s government the power to appoint or dismiss the chairmen of ethics or auditing, including his position. 

The move "deprives these bodies of their independence" and "destroyed one of the key achievements of the reform", Scala said in a statement.

According to the SonntagsZeitung newspaper, Scala was already on difficult terms with the FIFA president when he resigned, since Infantino reacted angrily to the compensation contract presented to him about two weeks ago. He was reportedly displeased that the contract stipulates he may no longer receive bonus payments. That decision was made by the compliance commission as part of a re-organisation of the FIFA presidential role to one that is more focused on diplomacy and politics. 

Unlike Infantino’s contract, that of the newly appointed FIFA Secretary General, Fatma Samoura of Senegal, does allow for a performance-related salary component. Therefore, it is possible that she could earn more than Infantino. 

Mark Pieth, Basel University law professor and former president of the FIFA independent governance commission, told Agence France-Presse he found it “indecent” that a demand over wages was causing so much conflict at FIFA. 

Infantino has “dropped the mask” of being a reformer, Pieth continued, saying that “he revealed his true motives and personality…it reminds me of the worst years [under former FIFA president Sepp Blatter]’”.

FIFA continues to recover from a massive corruption scandal that unfolded last year as the United States Justice Department and Swiss authorities arrested more than a dozen of the organisation’s leaders on suspicion of bribery. Blatter was ousted in the wake of the scandal and replaced by his Swiss compatriot Infantino at the FIFA World Congress in February.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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