Something Not Right at the Heart of FIFA, Says Prince Ali Following Interference Allegations

February 9, 2015

By Christian Radnedge

FIFA presidential candidate Prince Ali bin al-Hussein says he is deeply worried by the latest reports of corruption at the governing body.

The FIFA executive committee member released a statement after German magazine Der Spiegel alleged at the weekend that criticism of Sepp Blatter in a report by FIFA’s former head of reform Mark Pieth was watered down by the world football federation’s legal adviser, Marco Villiger.

Swiss governance expert Pieth originally submitted a preliminary 15-page draft of his report in February last year, and Villiger had sent it back on March 13 with 37 notes and various deletions.

Pieth went on to leave FIFA in frustration later in 2014, having pushed through only a handful of his proposals.

The German magazine claims  that passages in Pieth’s final report were amended to remove comments about Blatter’s “leadership responsibilities [as general secretary] during the ISL affair” as well as his “possible complicity in the scandal.”

On Monday, Jordan’s Prince Ali – who will challenge Blatter for the presidency in Zurich in May along with Michael van Praag and Luis Figo – explained in a statement his view on the allegations.

The statement said: “Media reports over the weekend are a reminder of why we need Michael Garcia’s report into FIFA’s World Cup bidding process to be published in full.

“There does appear to be evidence of interference in the drafting of the so-called independent Pieth report by FIFA. This is deeply worrying and suggests something is not right at the heart of FIFA governance.

“Without publishing the Garcia report in full, FIFA faces the ongoing public suspicion that interference may also have occurred in that case.”

Europe’s governing body UEFA also challenged FIFA’s transparency in the wake of the reports through Pedro Pinto, the former CNN sports reporter who is now media adviser to UEFA president Michel Platini.

Pinto, via Twitter, said: “The latest revelations regarding the Pieth report show that FIFA’s Independent Governance Committee was anything but independent. UEFA has always wondered why it was criticised by Mr Pieth and wrongly accused of blocking FIFA reforms. Now we understand why and where it all came from.”

{jcomments on}