FIFA’s in­com­pe­tency ex­posed by ethics sack­ings

World Soccer - - The World -

The mo­ment Fatma Samoura de­nied plans to sack Hans-Joachim Eck­ert and Cor­nel Bor­bely from their FIFA ethics roles they were dead in the wa­ter.

All in all, Eck­ert and Bor­bely did a good job. They had the guts to run Sepp Blat­ter and Michel Pla­tini out of town, and they fol­lowed through on all the se­ri­ous stuff dumped in their lap by the US Depart­ment of Jus­tice.

But the man­ner of their sack­ing was un­grate­ful and, frankly, in­com­pe­tent.

Judge Eck­ert and in­ves­ti­ga­tor Bor­bely could have jumped ship last year, like au­dit chair Domenico Scala, in protest at In­fantino hav­ing yanked the in­de­pen­dence rug from be­neath them. How­ever, they de­cided to stay on and their pa­thetic re­ward was a flight to Bahrain for dis­missal by congress at In­fantino’s be­hest. One trusts they did not have to pay for their flights home.

In a hastily sum­moned me­dia brief­ing they ex­pressed their anger while not­ing that they had sanc­tioned 74 in­di­vid­u­als af­ter nearly 200 in­ves­ti­ga­tions, with more un­der way. How a han­dover to new in­ves­ti­ga­tor Maria Clau­dia Ro­jas and judge Vas­sil­ios Sk­ouris will work was not ex­plained.

Apart from the lack of time for el­i­gi­bil­ity checks, an ob­vi­ous is­sue con­cerns the prac­ti­cal­i­ties. In­fantino said he wanted greater diver­sity. But whether a Span­ish-speak­ing Colom­bian in­ves­ti­ga­tor can work ef­fec­tively with a Greek judge who lives half a world away is open to ques­tion.

Mean­while, it is worth not­ing that Eck­ert and Bor­bely did not get ev­ery­thing right:

l Eck­ert’s sum­mary of Michael Gar­cia’s orig­i­nal 2018/2022 World Cup bid re­port prompted more ques­tions than an­swers.

l Eck­ert care­lessly be­trayed the ev­i­den­tial con­fi­dences of Phae­dra Al­ma­jid and Bonita Mer­si­ades with­out ap­par­ent con­cern or apol­ogy.

l Bor­bely and Eck­ert’s processing of writ­ten judg­ments was so slow as to fringe the bounds of jus­tice (as in the cases of Harold Mayne-Ni­cholls and Chung Mong-joon).

l Eck­ert non­sen­si­cally per­mit­ted banned Michel Pla­tini to de­liver a ‘farewell ad­dress’ to UEFA Congress last June.

l Eck­ert and Bor­bely’s gag­ging threats to Mayne-Ni­cholls were out of or­der.

l Eck­ert and Bor­bely’s fail­ure to run to earth Marco Polo del Nero – who was indicted by the US DoJ in De­cem­ber 2015 but still in place as CBF pres­i­dent – re­mains baf­fling.

The man­ner of their dis­missal and that of short-lived gov­er­nance chair Maduro did in­deed send out an aw­ful and clear mes­sage about the un­re­formed cul­ture within FIFA, what­ever the changes in per­son­nel. But that was not the worst of it.

FIFA’s most pow­er­ful ju­di­cial com­mit­tees des­per­ately need in­de­pen­dent in­di­vid­u­als who can­not be in­tim­i­dated.

Who, of high stand­ing in pub­lic life, would want to risk their rep­u­ta­tion in the Zurich mael­strom?

Dis­missed...Han­sJoachim Eck­ert (left) and Cor­nel Bor­bely

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