Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Dominico Scala on FIFA Reform and Corruption

Dominico Scala, the Chairman of FIFA's Audit and Compliance Committee, met with the media earlier today. He offered these comments on the CONCACAF Integrity Report, as reported by the New York Times:
Former FIFA vice-president Warner from Trinidad & Tobago, who was the president of CONCACAF for 21 years, and Blazer of the United States, his general secretary for most of that time, were both members of FIFA's executive committee.

Warner turned his back on football after being implicated in a bribery scandal in 2011, while Blazer has also left the game although, on a technicality, he is suspended from FIFA's executive committee until Friday.

The two men were vilified in a report commissioned by CONCACAF, the confederation responsible for soccer in North and Central America and the Caribbean, and published at their Congress in Panama in April after the examination of 5,000 documents and the testimony of 38 individuals.

"If you read the CONCACAF integrity report it does not say anything positive or polite (about them)," said Scala, a 48-year-old Swiss industrialist who is charged with enforcing new financial controls at FIFA as well as guiding the body's reform process on to the statute books.

"It's a horrible document so therefore whatever they are saying today is frankly useless and worthless because, over an extended period of time, they abused the system.

"I cannot judge on the other cases (of FIFA corruption) as I have no insights but I think it is a stretch to say now that what happened in CONCACAF happened in all the confederations.

"But here we have two individuals who behaved the way they did. Do we have other cases like this at FIFA? Maybe, I don't know, but we have to face facts; we have to be very careful of accusing everybody because we have had 10 years of accusations and allegations and suspicions."
Scala's comments raise some interesting questions, most prominently, why did it take so long for the abuse of the FIFA system to become formally recognized by FIFA? Why didn't FIFA uncover these fact previously, especially as many of the allegations were substantiated for FIFA by investigative journalists?

Also of note is Scala's apparent dismissal of the Warner/Blazer issues as not longer within the purview of FIFA:
"In the case of Jack Warner and Chuck Blazer this has far bigger implications than just (FIFA's) Ethics Committee, or the rules of the game," Scala said at a rare media briefing the day before FIFA's annual congress starts.

"There is sufficient suspicion that they have gone against the law and this will become an issue for the FBI and the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) in the case of taxation.

"So here the Ethics Committee and the world of FIFA stops - and people who have gone against the law will have to deal with the law."
FIFA's rush to move from largely ignoring the corruption within its Executive Committee to declaring the issues now to fall outside of its purview, and into the hands of US law enforcement, simply adds to the perception that FIFA is not yet fully serious about its reform agenda.

Perhaps tellingly, FIFA's official press release on Scala's press interview failed to report his remarks on Warner and Blazer. Instead FIFA emphasized Scala's defense of the now completed FIFA reform process:
“A two-year process to overhaul a global organisation like FIFA is quite ambitious, and normally corporate organisations – and I have worked for a few which are similarly complex – do not achieve this in such a limited timetable” continued Scala. “More than twenty of the recommendations for reform proposed by the IGC have been approved, but till now, this hasn’t been fully recognised or appreciated” he added.
In the interview, Scala also demonstrated another example of FIFA run-around, when asked about Sepp Blatter's salary:
[Scala] knows Blatter's salary. However, he says it's ''not my role to disclose.''

Blatter has reportedly referred questions over his earnings and bonuses to Scala.
He also hinted at problems in the allocation of FIFA development monies, but did not provide details:
Scala revealed to reporters that FIFA's finance committee had blocked projects in seven countries because of accounting concerns - though he would not identify them.
Scala's interview is welcome (and "rare" according to Andrew Warshaw) but it mainly serves to further illustrate how far FIFA has yet to go to achieve even basic standards of due diligence an transparency.


Post a Comment