PtG Article 06.01.2012

Journalists refuse to meet with FIFA’s Independent Governance Committee

Four reporters specialising in investigating corruption in FIFA and international football have declined an invitation to co-operate with FIFA’s Independent Governance Committee. Instead they list a number of suggestions how FIFA and the Committee could fight corruption in international football.

Four reporters specialising in investigating corruption in FIFA, Jens Weinreich, Andrew Jennings, Jean François Tanda and Thomas Kistner, have declined an invitation to co-operate with FIFA’s new Independent Governance Committee, which is chaired by Swiss Professor Mark Pieth.

In a common statement Jennings, Weinreich and Tanda criticise what they see as a Blatter/FIFA controlled cover up.

“It is absurd that Blatter, who has benefited from the explosion of corruption during his tenure as FIFA General Secretary and President and who managed the kickback scandals for at least two decades, is controlling this ‘clean-up’ scheme. It is created by Blatter to protect him and those close to him. His pretence of a ‘road map to reform’ is risible,” they write. 

In a very similar letter to Mark Pieth, Thomas Kistner also rejects “to take an active part in a process originally initiated and paid for by FIFA”.

All four also express their concerns that Mark Pieth through one of his employees allegedly should have threatened legal action against a colleague investigating in how much FIFA is paying Pieth and his institute for the work. And they refuse to participate in a process in which members of the Independent Governance Committee have close relations with FIFA.

Instead the four reporters list 20 actions that FIFA and the Independent Governance Committee could take or initiate if they want to show a genuine commitment to reform. This includes the publishing of Blatter’s personal copy of a report by Zug Investigating Magistrate Thomas Hildbrand into kickback corruption at FIFA and the recipients of more than 140 million Swiss Francs (US$100 million) in bribes paid by former marketing company ISL/ISMM. 

Among the other recommendations, the four reporters also call for a professional and independent investigation into the allegations of corruption up to the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup in Russia and Qatar respectively. 

You can find the full statement from Weinreich, Jennings and Tanda on Jens Weinreich’s blog and Andrew Jennings’ homepage. Jennings also provides a link to Thomas Kistner's letter.

Read also Roger Pielke, Jr.'s blog on sports politics where he questions the dicision not to testify.