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The Wright View | Scala’s resignation a blow to FIFA

Published:Tuesday | May 17, 2016 | 12:00 AMDr. Paul Wright

The World Congress of FIFA and the elections of the head of CONCACAF, two of the main bodies of football which directly affect Jamaica, have come and gone, with the main news affecting Jamaica being the prestigious appointment of Major General John Simmonds as a member of CONCACAF's disciplinary committee.

Jamaican fans of football, accustomed to the presence of officials from our local football controlling body, the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), having some influence in the decision-making of world and regional bodies, have been left disappointed at the lack of a voice in these two organisations.

The US law enforcement-led removal of many key figures in FIFA and CONCACAF and the fact that no Jamaican has been named or arrested gave some of us hope that maybe "big things woulda gwaan".

But alas, none of our hopes materialised.

Football worldwide had taken a massive blow after it was revealed that the European Union of Football Associations (UEFA) body, the regional body CONCACAF and the world body FIFA, were all led by corrupt individuals who were apparently not in football for the improvement of the game, but were really in it for their own financial improvement, with any cash left over going to home federations.

Much was promised by the "new" FIFA. Reform was the new password. But there was only one small drawback: the "new" heads were all there when the malfeasance was taking place and they never said a word! Therefore much was expected from the report of the FIFA Congress in Mexico last week. But the resignation of Domenico Scala, head of FIFA's independent audit and remuneration committee, has severely dampened our hopes and expectations.

Mr. Scala voiced his concern over a measure passed at the Congress that gave the FIFA Council control of the nomination of members of investigative and oversight bodies such as the ethics committee and the audit and compliance committees.

He is quoted as saying that "those bodies are factually deprived of their independence and are in danger of becoming auxiliary agents of those whom they should actually supervise. I am consternated about this decision, because it undermines a central pillar of the good governance of FIFA and it destroys a substantial achievement of the reforms. For this reason, I herewith declare my immediate resignation as the president of the audit and compliance committee of FIFA."

This bombshell was quickly supported by one Mark Pieth, a Swiss Professor and anti- corruption advisor to FIFA, who further alleged that the new FIFA president orchestrated the resignation of Mr. Scala, when the president's salary was proposed to be two million US dollars annually, with no prospect of a bonus. (The previous salary of disgraced President Sepp Blatter was 3.7 million US dollars with many prospects of added bonuses).

Could it be that the "new" FIFA is nothing but a fantastic public relations masterpiece designed to allay the fears of members of select committees that the potential for individual financial advancement was now a thing of the past.

May the 'FORCE' be with those tasked with bringing to justice those who pretend to "volunteer" for positions of authority in sports, only to be in line for the "perks" of the position that they seek.