End of FIFA Reform - Ousted Ethics Judges Hit Out at Council Decision Share PDF Print E-mail
Football / Soccer

FIFA2

By Christian Radnedge

The two men who led FIFA’s Independent Ethics Committee have lambasted the decision of the FIFA council not to renominate them this week in Bahrain, calling it the “end of FIFA reform”.

Ahead of congress on Thursday, FIFA president Gianni Infantino and the council announced they had proposed not to retain the services of ethics chiefs Hans-Joachim Eckert and Cornel Borbely.

Eckert and Borbely’s work over the past few years has been seen as instrumental in exposing corruption in world football, and helping to bring to an end Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini’s involvement in FIFA.

Now, Eckert and Borbely have released a joint-statement saying “FIFA will suffer from this decision in the medium and long term”.

The statement continued: “The work of a credible and independent Ethics Committee is an important part of the FIFA reforms whose goal was to restore the trust of the public and other stakeholders.

“Since 2015 the Investigatory Chamber has carried out 194 investigations and the Adjudicatory Chamber has sentenced more than 70 officials.

“The impending and clearly politically motivated non-reappointment puts de facto an end to the reform efforts. This will inevitably lead to a renewed loss of trust and further hurt the already tarnished image of FIFA.”

The frustration and anger felt by the two men is clear from the rare statement. Understandably so, given the amount of work undertaken and the fact that they both had expected to continue their roles past this week.

In fact, it is understood Eckert learned about his removal whilst on a flight to Bahrain where a hastily arranged ethics committee press conference was arranged for Wednesday morning.

There, the two men told reporters: "We investigated several hundred cases and several hundred are still pending and ongoing at the moment".

The proposed replacements for chairmen of the two chambers of the ethics committee are Colombian lawyer Maria Claudia Rojas and Greek judge Vassilios Skouris. Their appointments will be put to the FIFA congress for approval on Thursday.

Full statement:

Hans-Joachim Eckert and Cornel Borbély regret the decision by the FIFA Council to not re-nominate them for the position of the chairmen of the two chambers of FIFA’s Independent Ethics Committee.

The impending non-election will set the work of the Ethics Committee far back and is de facto the end of FIFA’s reform efforts.

It must be assumed that entire FIFA will suffer from this decision in the medium and long term.

The work of a credible and independent Ethics Committee is an important part of the FIFA reforms whose goal was to restore the trust of the public and other stakeholders.

Since 2015 the Investigatory Chamber has carried out 194 investigations and the Adjudicatory Chamber has sentenced more than 70 officials.

The impending and clearly politically motivated non-reappointment puts de facto an end to the reform efforts. This will inevitably lead to a renewed loss of trust and further hurt the already tarnished image of FIFA.

Consequently, the non-reappointment will have a negative impact on FIFA in the medium and long term.

The successors of both chairmen will have to familiarize themselves with the dossiers and the processes. The non-election will lead to long delays in current investigations and proceedings, and complicate the prosecution of violations of the Code of Ethics.

It appears that the heads of FIFA have attached greater weight to their own and political interests, than to the long-term interests of FIFA.

They have accepted jeopardizing FIFA’s integrity, and, hence, the future of the game.

The two chairmen Cornel Borbély and Hans-Joachim Eckert look back at the work accomplished by the Ethics Committee with pride.

They have enforced the Code of Ethics with independence and consistent legal work, and hence, have made sports history. Their work received the sympathy and support of reform-minded forces, for which they want to express their sincere gratitude.

 

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