(WFI) INSIDER is told that Domenico Scala has no plans to step aside from his role overseeing the FIFA election over conflict of interest allegations.
Liberian FA president Musa Bility, who did not qualify as a FIFA presidential candidate after failing an integrity check in November, came out in support of Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein on Friday. On Monday, Bility called for Scala to step aside because he shares nationality with FIFA contender Gianni Infantino, in a letter to the FIFA official according to a BBC report. They are both of Swiss-Italian origin.
Bility remarked on the decision by Scala to withdraw from his position on the electoral committee which managed the 2015 FIFA election race, which pitched the incumbent Sepp Blatter against Prince Ali. FIFA said at the time that Scala and Swiss national Claudio Sulser had stepped aside “to avoid any appearance of a potential conflict of interest based on nationality”.
Andreas Bantel, spokesman for Scala’s FIFA ad-hoc electoral committee, tells INSIDER that he was not obligated to stand down from the role ahead of last year’s ballot – or this time. The election is in Zurich on Feb. 26.
“The fact that a member of the ad-hoc electoral committee has the same nationality as a candidate does not result in a conflict of interest,” Bantel said. “There is no such provision whatsoever in the relevant regulations of FIFA.
“For the last election period up to May 2015, Mr Scala withdrew because the Swiss candidate was the incumbent president – who was also by far the most important one.
“Scala did so in order to avoid even any appearance of a potential conflict of interest situation and simply as a precautionary measure on a voluntary base.”
Bantel added: “For this election there are five candidates with no incumbent president. Hence, there is no potential conflict of interest at all. Even more, no candidate has raised this matter to date.”
Prince Ali won Liberia’s backing for his FIFA candidacy after a Confederation of African Football ExCo meeting backed Sheikh Salman Ebrahim Al Khalifa and refused to back one of their own, South Africa’s Tokyo Sexwale. Ali also secured the Egyptian FA’s support as splits quickly appeared in CAF’s supposed support for Salman. The South Sudan FA endorsed Infantino on the same day. Jerome Champagne is also confident of winning some African backing.
The FIFA election campaign moves to Miami on Wednesday where the five candidates will meet CONCACAF leaders and lobby individual federations face to face to try and strengthen their bids with little over two weeks to the election.
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
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