PtG Article 26.05.2006

Disgraced Italian soccer president can still work for FIFA

Having been the president of a national football federation blown apart by match fixing is not necessarily considered a career stopper in international sport. Last week, FIFA president Sepp Blatter gave his full support to Franco Carraro who has resigned as president of the Italian Football Federation and said that he should continue to serve as a FIFA official.

At a press conference in Zürich, Blatter told a group of journalists that Franco Carraro had asked FIFA whether he should step down from his UEFA and FIFA committees following the disclosures in Italy.

”But we told him he should continue to exercise his offices in these cases,” said Blatter. According to Blatter, Franco Carraro must be considered innocent until proven guilty and FIFA can not act as judges.Carraro failed to investigateFranco Carraro was put on the spot earlier this month when Italian newspapers published transcripts of telephone calls between senior Juventus board members, Luciano Moggi and Antonia Giraudo, and high-ranking Italian football federation (FIGC) officials.The conversations had been tapped as part of an investigation by prosecutors in Turin and appear to show that Mr Moggi was seeking to influence which referees were being sent to officiate at Juventus games.The investigators found no legal basis to proceed against anyone on criminal grounds but they urged the Italian FA to conduct their own inquiry and gave the transcripts to football president, Franco Carraro.He failed to take any action and the story stayed under wraps until it was exposed by Italian newspapers.This omission has drawn criticism from Sepp Blatter who told that “the Federation has its responsibilities, as it should’ve been vigilant and instead did not notice what was happening.”However, it is not an error so grave that Blatter appears uncomfortable leaving Carraro in charge of FIFA’s Internal Audit Committee.Carraro’s committee found  no wrongdoingInformation on the role of the Internal Audit Committee is hard to come by on FIFA’s own website. However, elsewhere investigative reporter Andrew Jennings has recorded the history of the committee and the curious chain of events that left Franco Carraroin charge of it.In 2002, Sepp Blatter was forced to accept an Internal Audit Committee by a narrow majority on FIFA’s Executive Committee. The task was to investigate the allegations of bribery raised by the collapse of the sport marketing company ISL and allegations against Sepp Blatter personally for misuse of funds in connection with his election campaigns.The committee began its work but in April 2002 it was suspended by Sepp Blatter who then substituted some of its members and appointed his close ally Franco Carraro to head it up. The committee began work again in 2003 and reported to the FIFA congress in 2004 that it had found nothing wrong.IOC and UEFA say nothingFranco Carraro holds a number of other important posts in international sport. He has been a member of the IOC since 1982 and on the Executive Board since 2000. He has also been a member of the Executive Board of UEFA since 2004. Neither of these organisations has commented publicly on Franco Carraro’s role in the handling of the Italian match fixing case and whether it should have consequences for his membership of their respective organisations.