Sunday, December 9, 2012

Council of Europe to Hold Hearing on FIFA Governance

UPDATE: 19 Dec, the CoE released a short press release on the hearing, in which it quoted Gvozdzen Flego (Croatia, SOC), Chair of the PACE Culture Committee: "We are committed to encouraging the reforms which should give this world body the transparency and sense of responsibility that it lacks."

The Council of Europe has scheduled a hearing on the governance of FIFA as a follow-up to its recent report and Resolution on "Good governance and ethics in sport."  Here is the full agenda as found on the CoE website (PDF):
Wednesday 19 December 2012, 9am - 12.30pm, Office of the Council of Europe

7. Follow-up to Resolution 1875 (2012) on Good governance and ethics in sport
[AS/Cult/Inf (2012) 12] - Programme of Hearing
Hearing on “FIFA governance” with the participation of:
  • Mohammad Bin Hammam, President of the Asian Football Confederation
  • Jérôme Champagne, former FIFA Deputy Secretary General
  • Jean-Loup Chappelet, Professor and Dean at the Swiss Graduate School of Public Administration,(IDHEAP), Lausanne
  • Sylvia Schenk, Transparency International
  • Lord David Triesman, former Chairman of the English Football Association
  • Theo Zwanziger, member of the FIFA Executive Committee
Of note is that the list is comprised of those calling for reform of FIFA in one way or another, including several very vocal critics. Interestingly, no one from the FIFA IGC is testifying, which may or may not be a significant omission (FIFA IGC chair Mark Pieth was identified as a possible participant in this hearing by the CoE in October -- PDF -- for whatever reason there will be no IGC representation)..

The Council has itself recently been very hard on FIFA. In a rejoinder to a FIFA response to its report on good governance, the Council did not mince words:
  • Mr Blatter is the President of FIFA, but he is not FIFA and he should not confuse what is in his own interest with what is in the interest of the organisation he is supposed to serve.
  • Asking FIFA to improve its governance, the transparency of its accounts and to take steps to shed light on the scandals which tarnish its image is hardly interference; it is just common sense.
  • Lastly, the independence of sport – to which we remain committed – should not become a defence for those who abuse their authority. It is wrong to have accusations without proof, but it is our duty to ask for the truth to be sought and established.
Hopefully the hearing will include written testimony that is made public. If so, I'll be sure to discuss here. Stay tuned.


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