In­fantino in­ter­fered in changes to FIFA ethics code - re­port

Stabroek News - - STARBROEK SPORT -

(Reuters) - FIFA chief Gianni In­fantino broke the world soc­cer body’s rules by in­ter­fer­ing in the rewrit­ing of its ethics code, Ger­man mag­a­zine Der Spiegel and Euro­pean In­ves­tiga­tive Col­lab­o­ra­tions, a net­work of in­ter­na­tional me­dia, re­ported on Fri­day.

FIFA’s Ethics Com­mit­tee, which banned and sus­pended dozens of of­fi­cials in­clud­ing for­mer FIFA pres­i­dent Sepp Blat­ter fol­low­ing a 2015 cor­rup­tion scan­dal, is sup­posed to op­er­ate in­de­pen­dently from soc­cer’s global gov­ern­ing body.

But Spiegel said leaked emails showed Swiss-Ital­ian In­fantino, who re­placed Blat­ter, was be­hind changes to the ethics code which in­cluded a lim­i­ta­tion pe­riod of 10 years on his­tor­i­cal in­ves­ti­ga­tions into cor­rup­tion and bribery.

A FIFA spokesper­son on Fri­day said there was noth­ing un­to­ward in In­fantino’s cor­re­spon­dence with the soc­cer body’s chief ethics judge over the re­draft­ing of the code. The Spiegel re­port cites a De­cem­ber 2017 email to In­fantino from Vas­sil­ios Sk­ouris, who took over as FIFA’s chief ethics judge fol­low­ing In­fantino’s elec­tion as pres­i­dent.

In the email Sk­ouris sent draft changes to FIFA’s ethics rules to the FIFA chief which he had been work­ing on with chief ethics in­ves­ti­ga­tor Colom­bian Maria Clau­dia Ro­jas, Spiegel said.

Spiegel said In­fantino re­sponded with a se­ries of amend­ments af­ter de­scrib­ing the new code as “re­ally ex­cel­lent”.

Among the com­plaints In­fantino made in his re­ply, ac­cord­ing to Spiegel, was that too many pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tions had been launched against soc­cer of­fi­cials.

“This pro­vi­sion has also been ‘mis­used’ in the past, es­pe­cially me­di­at­i­cally (sic),” In­fantino wrote, re­fer­ring to me­dia cov­er­age of pre­lim­i­nary ethics in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

“It should be clear that even a pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tion can only be car­ried out on the in­struc­tions of the chair­man of the in­ves­tiga­tive cham­ber.”

Gianni In­fantino

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