Same old Fifa? Independent committee chief Domenico Scala resigns in protest over "destroyed reforms"

 
Joe Hall
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Infantino is already being dogged with criticism just months into his presidency (Source: Getty)

Fifa's ability to reform under new president Gianni Infantino has been thrown into question after the head of its independent watchdog resigned in protest.

Domenico Scala, a Swiss businessman who headed the football governing body's audit and compliance committee, is resigning after a resolution passed at Fifa Congress on Friday gave its council — headed by Infantino — the power to dismiss office holders of supposedly independent bodies.

Read more: Gianni Infantino's victory means little - Fifa has shown few signs of cleaning up

The ruling, passed by 186 votes to one, allows Fifa's council to sack the independent investigators who have recently banned top officials such as disgraced ex-president Sepp Blatter and his secretary general Jerome Valcke.

Infantino has promised to set his under-fire organisation on a path of reform to repair its tattered reputation in the light of such scandals.

He declared that "the crisis is over" at Fifa's congress yesterday after passing a series of reforms which include more than doubling grants to member associations from $400,000 to $1.25m.

But according to Scala, any hope for change has been set back after Infantino effectively took control of Fifa's supposedly independent disciplinary arms.

"With this decision, it will henceforth be possible for the Council to impede investigations against single members at any time, by dismissing the responsible Committee members or by keeping them acquiescent through the threat of a dismissal," Scala said.

"Thereby, 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 President of the Audit and Compliance Committee of Fifa."

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