Friday, April 5, 2013

Mark Pieth Threatens FIFA with a Nuclear Option

In an apparent violation of Sepp Blatter's prohibition against speaking out, Mark Pieth, head of FIFA's Independent Governance Committee, today threatens FIFA with the possibility of what might be called a "nuclear option":
FIFA reformer Mark Pieth is perplexed by European opposition to a key part of his plan for wiping out corruption in soccer's governing body.

He suggested that if reforms were not forthcoming at FIFA's annual Congress in Mauritius in May, the Swiss government could hit FIFA where it hurts by making the organisation pay tax.
Pieth expalins what the consequences might be if the Swiss government were to revoke FIFA's non-profit status:
Pieth added that the ultimate punishment could be handed out by the Swiss government by ending tax exemption for the international sports organisations based in the country.

"This is plan B for Switzerland," he said. "We have between 40 and 60 associations. Switzerland as a country has to ask the question, 'will FIFA reform itself?'

"If it doesn't, there is a brutal way: tax. They are all tax exempt, but the government could say it has to understand the finances and if there is no governance, no tax exemption. "Maybe some of those associations will leave Switzerland, this is a risk we have to accept if we to take ethics seriously. Let them go to Qatar or other countries."
It is not clear if Pieth's threat is based on any serious proposals being considered by the Swiss government -- I have not heard any such proposals being advanced -- but his comments do indicate Pieth's return to outspoken public criticism of the organization. I suspect that we will be hearing more from Prof. Pieth in the near term.


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