Domenico Scala, head of auditing and compliance for FIFA, resigned Saturday, citing concerns that recent changes in policies and leadership would hinder nominally independent investigations at the global soccer federation as it continues to grapple with a corruption scandal.
FIFA formed a new executive committee in the wake of the scandal, which began in May 2015 when U.S. prosecutors indicted 14 high-level soccer officials and corporate executives on charges of “racketeering, wire fraud and money-laundering conspiracies, among other offenses, in connection with the defendants’ participation in a 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer.”
That new committee has the authority to appoint and replace those heading FIFA’s auditing and ethics committees, among other bodies, which Scala said “deprived [them] of their independence.”
Scala said this power threatened to “impede” investigations and “[undermine] a central pillar of the good governance of FIFA and destroys a substantial achievement of the reforms,” the BBC reported. He called it a “wake-up call” for those who want to see real reforms within the governing body.
In accepting Scala’s resignation, FIFA countered in a statement: “FIFA regrets that Mr. Scala has misinterpreted the purpose of the decision taken by the FIFA Congress.”
FIFA explained its decision as having been made “to permit the council to appoint members on an interim basis to the vacant positions of the new committees so they can start fulfilling their roles as part of the ongoing reform process until the next FIFA Congress in 2017,” adding: “The measure allows for the swift removal of members who have breached their obligations.”
It called Scala’s claims “unfounded” and “baseless,” and said all appointments to FIFA’s committee were “subject to strict eligibility checks by the independent FIFA Review Committee.”
FIFA appointed Deputy Chairman Sindi Mabaso Koyana as acting chairman until a new chairman is appointed.