Skouris new chief of Fifa’s ethics panel
MANAMA: Vassilios Skouris of Greece, a former president of the European Court of Justice, was elected head of Fifa’s ethics committee yesterday.
Taking over from German Hans-Joachim Eckert, who was instrumental in bringing down ex-Fifa president Sepp Blatter and Uefa chief Michel Platini, Skouris will serve a four-year mandate.
Colombia’s Maria Claudia Rojas was also elected to take over from ethics investigator Cornel Borbely.
Eckert was the judge who opened proceedings against Blatter and Platini in November 2015, after Fifa was engulfed by accusations of corruption.
He also opened the case against Jerome Valcke, Blatter’s former powerful deputy, which ended with the once all-powerful French administrator being banned from the game.
The replacement of Eckert and Borbely has raised eyebrows as critics have accused current Fifa president Gianni Infantino of having a personal motive to replace the pair, as an ethics investigation was launched against world football’s top powerbroker last year.
In further nominations, Finland’s Olli Rehn, former vice-president of the European Commission, was elected vice-president of the governance committee.
The president of that committee, former Portuguese cabinet minister Miguel Maduro, quit his job after just one year.
Meanwhile Infantino took aim at Fifa’s critics yesterday, saying the organisation had reformed and was now a victim of “fake news” and “Fifa bashing”.
“We are rebuilding Fifa’s reputation after all that happened. We took over the organisation at it’s deepest point,” said Infantino.
Infantino said criticism of the organisation under his leadership had not been fair, given improved transparency, controls and ethics procedures.
“There is a lot of fake news and alternative facts about Fifa circulating,” he said. “Fifa bashing has become a national sport in some countries”.