FIFA reformer Scala quits over loss of independence

Sat May 14, 2016 10:29am EDT
 
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By Brian Homewood

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Domenico Scala, a Swiss businessman who led reforms to clean up scandal-plagued FIFA, quit his post at the global soccer body on Saturday, saying its watchdog committees had lost their independence and members would be under threat of dismissal.

Scala, head of the audit and compliance committee, said the reform of FIFA, which is attempting to recover from the worst graft scandal in its history, had been undermined following a resolution by the FIFA Congress on Friday.

However, FIFA later said that Scala had "misinterpreted" the decision and the committees would remain independent.

The resolution, passed by 186 votes to one, gave the FIFA Council power to appoint or "dismiss any office holders" of its independent bodies such as the ethics committee and the audit and compliance committee.

It effectively gives the Council, which has replaced the former executive committee and is headed by the new FIFA president, Gianni Infantino, the right to fire ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, ethics investigator Cornel Borbely and Scala himself.

The ethics committee, which was reformed in 2012, has played a key role in cleaning up FIFA. It has investigated and banned more than a dozen top officials for ethics violations.

These have included former FIFA president Sepp Blatter and ex-secretary general Jerome Valcke as well as former executive committee members.

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Domenico Scala, Chairman of the FIFA's Audit and Compliance Committee, reacts during the Extraordinary FIFA Congress in Zurich, Switzerland February 26, 2016. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich/File Photo