FIFA’s compliance chairman Saturday resigned in protest over what he sees as a power grab by the new president.
Associated Press quotes Domenico Scala saying his resignation was a “wake-up call” for those working to reform soccer’s scandal-battered ruling body.
Scala’s walkout — on the issue of taking hiring and firing power over himself and independent panels that monitor FIFA officials and money — comes amid claims of tension between the two men over the presidential salary.
It marks a major test for Infantino’s presidency since he was elected to succeed Sepp Blatter in February promising more openness and modern leadership.
Scala has overseen FIFA’s billion-dollar annual spending since 2012, and could previously be removed only by a vote of the now-211 member federations at their annual meeting.
Tensions between the two Swiss-Italian men were exposed on Friday at FIFA’s congress in Mexico City.
Members voted in new powers to Infantino’s ruling council to fire Scala and ethics committee leaders who investigate corruption claims.
“I am consternated about this decision,” Scala said in a resignation statement, citing Friday’s move, “because it undermines a central pillar of the good governance of FIFA, and it destroys a substantial achievement of the reforms.”
FIFA accepted Scala’s resignation saying he misinterpreted the purpose of the decision taken by the FIFA Congress.
The decision was 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.
In addition, the measure allows for the swift removal of members who have breached their obligations.
The Council fully respects the independence of the Audit and Compliance and the Ethics committees, and any suggestions to the contrary are without merit.
Mr. Scala has made unfounded claims which are baseless. FIFA is focused on reform and the path forward as evidenced by the appointment of a new FIFA Secretary General.
Pending the appointment of a new Chairman of the Audit & Compliance Committee, current Deputy Chairman Sindi Mabaso Koyana will serve as acting Chairman.
The appointments of all members of the FIFA Audit & Compliance Committee and FIFA’s judiciary bodies are subject to strict eligibility checks by the independent FIFA Review Committee.
The Congress elects the members of the Review Committee.
Former European Court of Justice Advocate General Miguel Poiares Maduro, former Indian High Court judge Mukul Mudgal and former Sporting Cristal President Felipe Cantuarias Salaverry will form the first independent Review Committee.
This mechanism is designed to protect the organisation against any conflict of interest in the approval of any appointments to the key committees and bodies.