(WFI) FIFA says it has taken “another major step” with its governance reform program by appointing Swiss businessman Domenico Scala as the independent chairman of its new audit and compliance committee.

But Sepp Blatter’s anti-corruption mission has stalled due to
a delay in appointing the heads of its new two-chamber ethics panel.

Scala, a non-executive director of Swiss biotech company Basilea Pharmaceutica Ltd and a senior advisor to private equity and M&A firms, had been proposed by FIFA’s Independent Governance Committee chaired by Mark Pieth.

News of Scala’s appointment, which is expected to be ratified by FIFA’s 208 member associations at its Congress in Budapest on Friday, emerged on Tuesday morning in a press release issued after Monday’s executive committee meeting was wrapped up in one day.

But in what FIFA president Sepp Blatter has billed as a new era of transparency since the World Cup bidding bribery scandals today’s press conference to discuss the outcomes of the ExCo was cancelled without any explanation.

The FIFA Ex-Co also rubberstamped the proposed change to the FIFA Statutes involving the restructuring of the ethics committee with a two-chamber system – one to investigate, the other to judge – with two independent chairmen.

But FIFA is delaying their appointment.

FIFA said in a statement that one candidate proposed by the Independent Governance Committee had to decline the position of chairman of the adjudicatory chamber on Monday for health reasons. Odd that FIFA chiefs had not been made aware of these medical reasons well before the meeting to allow them to approach another candidate.

“In view of this, the executive committee decided to hold an extraordinary meeting to designate both chairmen together once the FIFA Congress has approved the relevant amendments to the FIFA Statutes, which will come into force 60 days after the Congress,” FIFA said in the release.

“At this extraordinary meeting, which is to take place in Zurich in the first week of July, the FIFA Executive Committee will adopt the Code of Ethics and appoint both chairmen so that the new ethics committee can start work thereafter.

The new-look ethics panel was of the main recommendations of Pieth’s Independent Governance Committee, part of whose remit was a review of how FIFA has dealt with allegations of misconduct involving its Ex-Co members linked to the 2018/2022 World Cup bidding contest and last year’s FIFA presidential election campaign.

Pieth’s report slammed the FIFA ethics committee’s handling of a spate of bribery allegations that engulfed over a third of the Ex-Co and led to a lifetime ban for Mohamed Bin Hammam in the biggest crisis to hit FIFA in its 108-year history.

The Independent Governance Committee said FIFA’s management of the corruption was “insufficient to meet the challenges of a major global sport governing body. This has led to unsatisfactory reactions to persistent allegations.

Despite the delay, Blatter appeared satisfied with the work of the Ex-Co on Monday.

“Happy with yesterday’s Ex-Co meeting; a lot of good decisions were taken to keep the reforms on the right track,” he tweeted.

First Female Member for FIFA Ex-Co

In keeping with Blatter’s pledge to co-opt a woman onto the FIFA Ex-Co at last year’s FIFA Congress, Burundi Football Association president Lydia

Burundi FA president Lydia Nsekera has been co-opted onto the FIFA Ex-Co (Getty)

Nsekera was appointed to the role. She is the only female president of a national football federation.

Nsekera is also a member of the FIFA Committee for Women’s Football and the FIFA Women’s World Cup and the FIFA Organising Committee for the Olympic Football Tournaments.

A former basketball player and high jumper, the 45-year-old has also been an IOC member since 2009 and sits on the IOC’s Women and Sport Commission.

Nsekera will be confirmed to the position at the FIFA Congress.

“The formal election of a woman representative on the executive committee will be held in 2013 once the new FIFA Statutes have come into force,” FIFA said.

In other business, the FIFA Ex-Co said it was working on a general players’ insurance programme – Club Protection Programme (CPP) – which will now also include the Olympic Football Tournament.

For the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil, Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, Fortaleza, Rio de Janeiro, Recife and Salvador have been approved as host cities. The decision came after a FIFA review of progress on the stadia projects.

“Nevertheless, several match schedules including four, five and six cities have been worked out in order to adapt smoothly to the actual situation in due time, at the latest in mid-November,” FIFA said.

Another key decision was to allow FIFA member associations to play friendly matches with teams under the governance of the Football Federation of Kosovo “in accordance with art. 79 of the FIFA Statutes”. As the Balkan province is not recognised by the
United Nations, FIFA and UEFA have previously blocked the move.

The Ex-Co also approved several FIFA tournament dates-  the U-20 World Cup in Turkey next year will take place from June 21 to July 13; the U-17 World Cup UAE 2013 runs from Oct. 17 to Nov. 8.

Regarding the 2013 Beach Soccer World Cup in Tahiti, the allocation of slots for this competition was been approved as follows: AFC (3), CAF (2), CONCACAF (2), CONMEBOL (3), OFC (1), UEFA (4) + Tahiti (Host).

Ahead of the FIFA Congress, the 2nd FIFA Medical Conference is held tomorrow and Thursday.

Chaired by FIFA Medical Committee chief Michel D’Hooghe and chief medical officer Jiri Dvorak, the two-day conference will include discussion of major issues including sudden heart attacks, training accidents, FIFA’s 11+ warm-up programme and pre-match medicals.

Fresh guidelines to help players who suffer cardiac arrests on the pitch may emerge in the wake of Fabrice Muamba’s collapse at a game between his club, Bolton Wanderers, and Tottenham Hotspur in March.

By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson

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