[UPDATE: Jens Weinreich reposts the below at his blog and adds some additional information and commentary. Thanks Jens!]
FIFA has empaneled a committee focused on helping the organization to reform itself in the direction of "good governance." Sepp Blatter calls the committee the "Independent Good Governance Committee." However, media reports and readily available information shows that the committee is far from independent.
My scorecard shows, of the 12 announced spots on the committee:
2 are independentBelow are the members who have been announced for the committee and my judgement on their independence from FIFA and rationale. I add a ** to those judgments where further information would be helpful, but as FIFA operates without a conflict of interest policy that mandates disclosure of potential conflicts, information is hard to come by. I err on the side judging independence when information is lacking.
4 are independent pending full disclosure of financial ties to FIFA
6 are not independent (including its chair)
NOT INDEPENDENT -- Chair, Mark Pieth, University Of Basel -- Pieth (or Pieth's institution) was paid $128,000 by FIFA to produce a scoping report, immediately prior to being appointed to chair the committee. Obviously not independent.Others to be added include:
INDEPENDENT -- Leonadro Grosso, FIFPro President-- FIFPro is an association of professional football player associations, formed in 1965.
NOT INDEPENDENT -- Lydia Nsekera, President Burundi Football Association -- The Burundi FA is a member of FIFA. Obviously not independent.
**INDEPENDENT -- Peter Goldsmith, former UK Attorny General and now partner at Debevoise & Plimpton, LLC-- There is some evidence that Debevoise & Plimpton may have financial ties to FIFA (e.g., in advising on a $250M infrastructure project associated with EURO 2012). Such a relationship may or may not compromise independence, I just don't know, hence the two stars.
INDEPENDENT -- Alexandra Wrage, President of TRACE -- TRACE states on its website: "Neither Ms. Wrage nor TRACE will accept any fees or travel expenses for Ms. Wrage's participation on the IGC."
**INDEPENDENT -- Michael Herschman, President of The FairFax Group --The FairFax group helps to advise companies about crisis managment and risk mitigation. It is not known what, if any, financial relationship the Group has had with FIFA now or in the recent past, hence the two stars.
**INDEPENDENT -- Guillermo Jorge, Guillermo Jorge & Asociados -- The firm specializes in "in the design and implementation of corporate strategies and public policies dealing with business ethics and the prevention of corruption and money laundering." Once again there is no information on the firm's current or past financial ties to FIFA, hence the two stars.
**INDEPENDENT -- James Klotz, partner at Miller Thomson LLC -- Miller Thomson is a business law firm, again there is no information available on the firms current or past relationships with FIFA. Two stars.
NOT INDEPENDENT -- François Morinière, CEO of Groupe L’Équipe - Groupe Amaury -- This corporate entity is a corporate partner with FIFA for its Ballon D'Or Award.
NOT INDEPENDENT -- Sunil Gulati, president US Soccer Federation -- USSF is a member of FIFA. Obviously not independent. [UPDATE 12/20: Gulati has been added to the formal list.]If I was a reporter, I'd be asking the 6 members with two stars to disclose publicly their financial relationships with FIFA (or lack thereof). If they are unwilling to disclose such information to allow such a judgment, I'd move them to "not independent." But in this exercise I have erred on the side of judging independence of these organizations, but absent disclosure it is not at all clear that such a judgment is warranted.
NOT INDEPENDENT -- unnamed Asian sponsor
NOT INDEPENDENT -- an unnamed club representative [UPDATE 12/20: This slot has been filled by Carlos Heller, major shareholder in Universidad de Chile.]
The bottom line is that FIFA's "Independent Good Governance Committee" is far from independent.