Ethics complaint, allegations put Infantino under pressure

NEW YORK • A New York University law professor who resigned from a Fifa governance committee has filed an ethics complaint against the world football body's leadership, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.

According to the newspaper, the complaint lodged by Joseph Weiler claims that Fifa president Gianni Infantino, as well as Infantino's top deputy and other senior officials intervened in their committee's work in a bid to block scrutiny of senior football officials.

When contacted by AFP, Fifa declined to comment on the report, which came on the same day that Miguel Maduro, the former chairman of Fifa's governance committee, gave a devastating indictment before a British parliamentary committee of Infantino's commitment to reform.

Maduro said the Fifa leadership interfered with his committee's work, ignored rules and ultimately sacked him in order to maintain power, saying only "external pressure" would force the corruption-tainted organisation to change.

Weiler and three other members of Maduro's committee resigned in May after Infantino fired Maduro, less than a year after he was appointed to the position.

Weiler confirmed his own complaint in a telephone interview with the New York Times.

"It was filed in the last few days," he said, adding that it covered many of the same claims Maduro had made to the British parliamentary panel.

Maduro said he and Infantino had clashed over Maduro's attempt to bar Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko from standing for a seat on Fifa's council, because it violated rules against governmental interference in football.

The former Portuguese government minister said that Infantino has opted "to survive politically" even if it means forsaking the effort to stamp out corruption.

Weiler added that all of the information he gathered that raised ethical red flags was "known by Fifa" and when he saw no action taken, he formally informed the ethics committee.

"I want to believe the ethics committee will not remain indifferent to these issues and there will be serious investigations," he said.

"In the light of my experience on the governance committee, I have very serious doubts about Fifa's ability to reform under its current leadership."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 15, 2017, with the headline 'Ethics complaint, allegations put Infantino under pressure'. Print Edition | Subscribe