Report Into FIFA Raises Questions About Ethics Investigator

Report Into FIFA Raises Questions About Ethics Investigator

“I was subject to strict scrutiny and inspection from FIFA with respect to my professional, financial and personal background before my appointment,” she said.

FIFA’s regulations usually require candidates for its committees to be vetted for at least four months before they can be officially appointed. In the case of Rojas and several others, the procedure was streamlined because their nominations had been made on short notice.

“Ms. Rojas and all appointed candidates for the independent committees and judicial bodies were chosen because they are recognized, high-profile experts in their respective fields,” FIFA said in a statement.

Rojas replaced Cornel Borbely, a Swiss lawyer, as the head of the investigatory arm of FIFA’s ethics body. Another recent addition, Vassilios Skouris, a Greek judge, replaced Hans-Joachim Eckert as the chair of the adjudicatory branch.

Miguel Maduro, a former Portuguese politician who had been hired by FIFA’s president, Gianni Infantino, to chair the governance committee, lasted just eight months before he was ousted at the same meeting as Borbely and Eckert. Maduro had blocked the Russian deputy prime minister, Vitaly Mutko, from reapplying for a seat on FIFA’s governing council because his candidacy breached neutrality requirements. Since his removal, Maduro has said he resisted efforts from Infantino and his senior staff to convince him to allow Mutko to run.

FIFA has declined to comment on the removals of Maduro, Borbely and Eckert.

In a published version of her report into FIFA, Brasseur described Infantino as a micromanager who removed officials who “might have embarrassed” him.

“The reform structures seem to be O.K. but it’s the implementation that’s not truly made,” she said.

In a statement, FIFA criticized the report and charged its authors with failing to acknowledge its “pioneering reforms.” FIFA said that the report based its findings on “personal opinions and rumors, rather than on a thorough analysis and objective facts. This falls short of the expectations that global citizens have of an organization such as the Council of Europe.”

In her report, Brasseur, also said Rojas did not fit the profile of “a prosecutor” and her lack of knowledge of English and French were problematic. The majority of documents compiled by the previous ethics leaders were in English, said Brasseur, who met with Rojas on Oct. 16.

“It’s about really deep investigations — it’s very difficult if you are not fluent in the language,” Brasseur said.

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