Tuesday, December 18, 2012

FIFA Reform Split: Pieth Appeals to the Council of Europe

With the FIFA reform effort essentially over, it seems inevitable that there will be some fracturing of solidarity between FIFA and those which it empaneled to advise the organization on reform. A first sign of a split has emerged today with the AP reporting that Mark Pieth, chairman of the FIFA Independent Governance Committee, has appealed to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to assist in motivating FIFA reform. Sepp Blatter, FIFA president, was none too happy when Pieth was critical of the reform effort back in October, and he probably won't like this action either.

The AP reports:
An anti-corruption panel advising FIFA wants a European lawmakers' group to press for "urgent" reform at football's world governing body when it meets on Wednesday.

FIFA adviser Mark Pieth's request for support from the 47-nation Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) hints at obstacles ahead of completing promised anti-corruption and transparency reforms by next May.

"It would be most welcome if the committee of the Council of Europe could add its voice to those demanding urgent change," Pieth wrote in a Dec. 3 submission seen by The Associated Press.

Pieth wrote that his group, including lawyers, anti-bribery experts and football officials, have already faced opposition since they began in January advising FIFA's ruling executive committee — and challenging its authority.

"Currently there is some resistance to even such key suggestions, including from European associations," the Swiss law professor told the PACE committee dealing with sports issues.
The meeting being refereed to is a hearing which I discussed here last week, noting the absence of Pieth on the panel. 

Pieth continues to escalate his criticism of FIFA, perhaps recognizing that the reform effort's legacy is tied up with his own. With reform apparently ending soon and with little accomplished, it would be completely understandable if Pieth wants to ensure that the blame for the stunted effort does not get placed on him.

In the submission to PACE he writes, according to the AP:
Pieth has been frustrated by Blatter's executive colleagues blocking his "fundamental suggestion" that audit chairman Domenico Scala should join them as an independent member. Instead, they allowed him just to observe during discussion of financial issues.

"A deviation from this compromise is unacceptable," lawmakers have been told by Pieth.
It is not clear what "unacceptable" might actually mean in practice, however, the strong language suggests that Pieth is transforming from a supportive facilitator to a frustrated critic. I would guess that we will hear more along these lines from Prof. Pieth.


Post a Comment