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FIFA at crossroads


Is FIFA really on the path to reform?




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Gianni Infantino has faced a difficult first three months in office (swissinfo.ch)

Gianni Infantino has faced a difficult first three months in office

(swissinfo.ch)

Following the banning of Sepp Blatter, new accusations levelled at his successor, Gianni Infantino, and the most recent raid on FIFA HQ, do you think it’s possible for FIFA to change its spots?

We outline the events of the last few days below. Based on the bad press the 'new' FIFA has been receiving, do you think Infantino was bound was bound to face some initial teething problems given FIFA’s murky past, or is it a sign that football’s world governing body is beyond reform?

When he was elected as President in February, Infantino promised a “new era” which would “revive the image and respect of FIFA”. But things the events of the last few weeks suggest this might not be so easy.

May 14 saw the resignation of Audit and Compliance Committee chief Domenico Scala straight after a Congress meeting in Mexico. Scala, who authored of FIFA’s recent reform package, said FIFA’s leadership was compromising the independence of its ethics watchdog bodies.

Now it transpires that Infantino ordered the deletion of minutes of that Mexico meeting – although the emails that were leaked to the press do not give details of exactly which part of the minutes were affected.

In between these two events, it has emerged that Infantino has refused to sign his compensation contract of $2 million a year – half of the salary awarded to his predecessor Blatter. Then came news that FIFA had fired its Deputy Secretary General Markus Kattner for “breaches of his fiduciary responsibilities".

On top of all that, Swiss prosecutors, already investigating a number of alleged misdeeds at FIFA, raided its Zurich headquarters on Thursday. The Swiss Attorney General said it was searching for unspecified evidence but had not opened any proceedings against Infantino.

FIFA's defence

FIFA says the latest allegations of deleting the Mexico meeting minutes is all a big misunderstanding. Infantino merely wanted a copy of the minutes, which had been “improperly stored on a local drive”, to be deleted, but that the original copy has been properly archived.

The Ethics Committee said that no “formal proceedings” had been levelled at Infantino, but added it never commented on the existence or status of “preliminary investigatory proceedings against an individual”.

Swiss anti-corruption expert Mark Pieth, who has previously advised FIFA, last month told Agence France-Presse that Infantino has “dropped the mask” of being a reformer. He added that “he revealed his true motives and personality…it reminds me of the worst years.”
 

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