FIFA accused of purge

Ousted officials say we are seeing the end of FIFA's reform efforts following a series of scandals...

BY Joseph Conroy 14:43 Wednesday 10 May 2017, 14:43 10 May 2017

Image: Mike Egerton/PA Wire/PA Images

There are allegations of a purge among FIFA's top ranks, as a number of top executives who have been involved in its reform efforts have been pushed out of the association.

Miguel Maduro, a former Portuguese minister who chaired FIFA's governance and review committee, has been ousted after the group decided that Vitaly Mutko, chairman of Russia’s 2018 World Cup organising committee should not be allowed to hold a seat on FIFA's Executive Committee - because he is the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia.

A senior FIFA official with knowledge of the decision told The Financial Times that the Portuguese official had been "fired" and likened FIFA's actions to, "a night of the long knives."

Mr Mutko is also the head of the Russian Football Union, a former Minister for Sports, and the former-president of Zenit Saint Petersburg. He joined FIFA's Executive Committee in 2009.

Substitution

FIFA's chief ethics investigator Cornel Borbely and the judge at the head of FIFA’s corruption probes, Hans-Joachim Eckert have also not been reappointed.

The duo released a joint statement which said that we are seeing, "the de facto end of Fifa's reform efforts."

They added that the decision was "obviously politically motivated" and that, "It seems the FIFA hierarchy has valued its own and political interests higher than the long-term interests of FIFA."

The pair plan to hold a press conference later today.

According to Der Spiegel, NYU law professor Joseph Weiler has resigned from the governance committee in protest.

Mr Eckert led an investigation into corruption allegations surrounding the Russia and Qatar bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups - it found no wrongdoing.

In 2016 FIFA president Gianni Infantino was investigated by the committee - but was found to have done nothing wrong.

They have been replaced by Maria Claudia Rojas, a Colombian prosecutor and Vassilios Skouris a Greek judge who is the former head of the European Court of Justice.

The 67th FIFA Congress will begin in Bahrain tomorrow.

When contacted for comment, FIFA directed Newstalk towards the following statement:

"The proposed list of candidates for the Audit and Compliance Committee, the Governance Committee and the judicial bodies was agreed to following a thorough consultation process involving FIFA and the six confederations. The decision on the final list of candidates was then agreed to unanimously by the FIFA Council.

"These individuals have been chosen because they are recognised, high-profile experts in their respective fields. Moreover, they better reflect the geographic and gender diversity that must be a part of an international organisation like FIFA."

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