Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sepp Blatter Crticizes Joachim Eckert

Andrew Warshaw reports that FIFA's president, Sepp Blatter, is not happy with comments made by the newly installed co-chair of his Ethics Committee, Joachim Eckert:
Just weeks after announcing a revamped Ethics Committee aimed at combating corruption as part of his road map to reform, FIFA President Sepp Blatter has criticised one of the body's two independent chiefs.

Earlier this week, Joachim Eckert, a German judge, was quoted as telling a news magazine that Blatter needed to play his part in cleaning up the organisation or he would no longer be acceptable as its leader.

But in what can only be construed as another embarrassing episode in his Presidency, Blatter made it clear he was not happy with the comments of a man whose praises he was singing back in July.

"A judge should not say anything," Blatter (pictured below) told Germany's Sport Bild newspaper.

"I have never experienced it that a judge makes a comment about an ongoing case; he only says something when he makes the judgement."
Surely Blatter would not be trying to influence Eckert's actions? That would place him at risk of violating the provisions of independence set forth in new FIFA's Ethics Code (here in PDF):
The members of the Ethics Committee shall manage their investigations and proceedings and render their decisions entirely independently and must avoid any third-party influence.
It is not clear to me that Garcia has actually opened up a formal investigation of Blatter. However, Blatter is learning that actual "independence" means "outside of FIFA's control" and this initial indication is that he does not much like it. That said, Eckert comments are pretty tame compared to the sorts of information and actions that the new FIFA Ethics Committee might be dealing with in the future. With Blatter reacting to Eckert's comments in anger, it will be interesting to see what might lie ahead. FIFA, never dull.


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