Neo-colonialism by FIFA manifests itself in the most asinine manner where there is skewed application of the FIFA Ethics code and manipulation of the FIFA Ethics committee.
The FIFA Ethics committee is divided into 2 – with an Investigatory chamber and an Adjudicatory chamber which carry out complimentary roles of investigating and passing judgement on alleged breaches of the FIFA code of Ethics.
The Investigatory chamber is chaired by Colombian Maria Claudia Rojas (referred to in European leaked documents as SuperAmiga due to her closeness with FIFA President Gianni Infantino, while the Adjudication chamber is chaired by the Greek Vassilios Skouris.
Global citizens continue to scratch their heads and wonder aloud whether there exists any such thing as Greek or Colombian jurisprudence to warrant the elevation of these two to such vaunted positions in the judicial bodies of World football.
The reason for these sense of wonderment and puzzlement will become clear as we progress with this piece.
In May 2017, FIFA President Infantino moved quickly to replace the then heads of the Ethics committee Hans-Joachim Eckert and Cornel Borbely with the duo of Rojas and Skouris.
This decision confounded even the most pessimistic in FIFAs ability for self-reform considering that both Eckert and Borbely had been the judge and the prosecutor respectively, whose investigations resulted in the suspensions of Sepp Blatter, Michel Platini and other top officials.
The two were also clearly confounded by the decision to eject them from their positions considering that they were in full stride of various serious investigations and adjudications on various football matters.
“The impending and clearly politically motivated non-reappointment puts de facto an end to the reform efforts” inside FIFA and further tarnishes the organization’s battered image, Eckert and Borbely said in a statement.
Their independence and professionalism however, seemed to impress everyone else except Gianni Infantino, which is shocking because had these two been the Ethics heads at his previous posting as the SG at UEFA, retaining them in those positions would have been a no-brainer.
From the jump, Infantino did not want an independent FIFA Ethics committee, especially not one with the audacity of Eckert & Borbely, he was more inclined to Ethics committee heads who were beholden to him or at the very least, easily malleable to his personal inclinations.
From the leaks that were later published by the consortium of investigative journalists in Europe, it would appear that Infantino sat down and amended the Ethics code himself, in order that it may align perfectly with his intentions.
Already, the output of Maria Claudia Rojas has been sensationally called to question especially for her complete lack of English and French languages , which means that she has to rely entirely on the translation and interpretation of crucial documents and testimony by her aides, for each and every investigation.
The Council of Europe report states that María Claudia Rojas, the Colombian judge appointed in May to chair Fifa’s ethics committee’s investigatory branch, does not have the requisite experience of conducting criminal or financial investigations.
“Also,” the report states, “her lack of knowledge of English and French is a major obstacle, as almost all documents [relevant to the investigations] are in one of these two languages. This is not merely a factor that risks slowing her down in her examination of case files … but it also means – and this is much more problematic – that she is more dependent on the [Fifa] secretariat that assists her and that it is objectively difficult for her to enter into confidential contacts with witnesses or experts.
This weakness increases the lead time for the disposal of cases exponentially, and affects the quality of investigations that are subsequently placed before the Adjudicatory chamber.
It is possible that if a higher court were to critically take up these concerns by way of an appeal of these FIFA cases, it would be possible to impugn all the cases that have been handled by this particular Investigatory chamber.
Hilariously, despite Gianni Infantino not having sex appeal by any stretch of the imagination, he has been romantically linked to the foxy Maria Claudia Rojas.
CAF President Ahmad Ahmad and FIFA SG Fatma Samoura have equally been romantically linked since their time in Madagascar where Ahmad was the Minister for Fisheries and Fatma was the UNDP head.
Does anyone else think that this scenario stinks to high heavens?
Two strongmen, in a deal that can only have been conceived of by the most diabolically depraved mind, bring their side-dishes to extremely high offices in FIFA where they have the power to cover the tracks of their appointing authorities.
When Fatma received the complaints dossier against Ahmad that had been prepared by former CAF SG Amr Fahmy, she sat on it and only released it to the Investigatory chamber of the Ethics committee when Ahmad was arrested in Paris on 5th June 2019 for bribery and money-laundering.
Essentially, when the cat was no longer in the bag, she had no option but to release the dossier, into the hands of Maria Claudia Rojas!
Maria Rojas on her part typically has to consult with Infantino on which cases to proceed with and which to place on the back-burner.
In Africa, this arrangement has wrought havoc on the management of football and the mismanagement of CAF.
For instance, when Liberian Musa Hassan Bility moved to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland to contest the illegal CAF-FIFA hostile takeover, Infantino quickly activated Skouris (head of the Adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics committee) to release a ruling that banned Bility from all football activity for 10 years and a CHF 10,000 fine to boot.
For this reason, a ruling that had supposedly been finalized on 12th February 2019 was only released to the accused (Bility) and the World on 24th July 2019.
They had underestimated the speed with which Bility would move and therefore only issued the ban on him a day after his legal team had already filed the case at CAS on 23rd July 2019.
The idea had been for FIFA Ethics ruling to automatically and technically knock Bility out, under the pretext of no longer having the locus standi to file the case at CAS, as he was already banned and thus no longer a member of the CAF Executive committee.
Sinisterly, the Investigatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics committee has NEVER embarked on the Ahmad Ahmad investigations, some of which go all the way back to 2008 when he was the recipient of bribes from the now disgraced Mohammed Bin Hammam.
Ironically, other cases from that time have been dispensed with ages ago including that one of Bin Hamman himself, his assistant Najeeb Chirakal and closer home in Africa, that one of Zambian legend Kalusha Bwalya.
So why does Infantino go out of his way to insulate Ahmad from the Ethics committee by amending the code of ethics and installing easily pliable people to key positions?
You see, Infantino cannot just save the devil (Ahmad) and leave out his helpers who assist him to keep the other African FA Presidents corrupt.
A large cross-section of African football aficionados are livid at the preferential treatment accorded to Uganda FA President Moses Magogo, and who was also illegally elected to the CAF Exco during the last Ordinary General Assembly in Cairo last July.
Magogo, had been indicted by the Ethics committee for the re-sale of FIFA World Cup tickets to an American entity in 2014. For some reason (wink, wink) the Ethics committee arranged with Magogo to enter into a plea-bargain arrangement where he would confess to having breached the FIFA Ethics code and in the process, he got a slap on the wrist, 2-months suspension from all football activity.
The FIFA code of Ethics explicitly bars the Ethics committee from entering into any plea-bargain arrangement on bribery, corruption and misappropriation of funds in Art. 67(6).
“No plea agreement shall be allowed concerning sanctions related to infringements of bribery and corruption, misappropriation and misuse of funds and manipulation of football matches and competitions”
Magogo, arrogantly told the members of his FA’s General Assembly that he was “stepping aside” for 2 months, and allowed his Deputy Justus Mugisha to stand in for him during this period.
The delegates were either too scared, too stupid or both to question him on the reason why he would step away from the FUFA Presidency for 2-months and return as though FUFA is a Kampala City Council public toilet..!
At the end of the 2 months, Magogo will saunter back to his seat, amidst cheers from the cohort at FIFA Headquarters, and life will proceed as though normal. In this case, the Ethics case was a mere speed-bump erected by the “enemies of football”…
Musa Hassan Bility on the other hand is fighting a war on two fronts like the German Armed forces during WW2. On the one hand he is fighting the CAF-FIFA hostile takeover while on the other, he is fighting the FIFA Ethics committee ban at the same CAS.
Surprisingly, a critical mass of FA Presidents from CAF are supporting this cause both morally and materially.
One of these absolutely fearless FA Presidents is Manuel Lopes Nascimento from Guinea-Bissau who is also lined up as witness in the CAS case.
On 1st November 2019, the Investigatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics committee wrote to Nascimento informing him that they were opening an investigation against him and asking him to make a written statement on the matter within 7-days.
The matter in question relates to a video released by elements of the CAF Media experts which shows a man (supposedly a thief) who has been arrested by a mob which looks poised to deliver instant justice to him.
Apparently, the thug had broken into Nascimento’s house and when the alarm was raised, the fleeing man was arrested by the citizens. Nascimento then intervened and proceeded to question the thug despite the mob baying for his blood.
Eventually the thug was delivered safely into the hands of the law enforcement in one piece.
FIFA Ethics committee seems to be alluding that Nascimento for some reason was behind the “mob justice” that was meted upon the man before he intervened.
It is a bit of a stretch, but we know that since he is in the cross-hairs of FIFA for accepting to be a witness in the case against the CAF-FIFA hostile takeover, any and all opportunities to hammer him will be used.
Remember, this is the same FIFA Ethics committee that stood by and allowed CAF Exco elections to proceed and the election of War criminal Patrice-Edouard Ngaissona, from the Central Africa Republic (CAR) and who had been the leader of the Anti-Balaka militia which perpetrated some of the most heinous human rights violations against Muslims in that country’s civil war.
Ngaissona is now domiciled at The Hague awaiting trial after his arrest in France in 2018 together with another militia leader Alfred Yekaton.
So bad were the allegations against Ngaissona that the CAR electoral body refused to clear him to vie for the Presidency in 2015.
Whatever the case may be, the matter before the Ethics committee will be defended against to the highest levels.
FIFA continues the game of musical chairs in Africa with the selective application of its Ethics code as both a spear and a shield, depending on whose favor you are in at any particular time.
In the meantime, Ahmad who has been accused by female employees and contractors of CAF of sexual harassment and assault coupled with money-laundering and bribery investigations by French authorities continues to gallivant around the World for red carpet football events.
Infantino has ensured that Ahmad is not a pariah despite his sinister and criminal actions, while those who oppose Ahmad and his grip on the CAF Presidency, are chased down by the Ethics committee, even if the Investigatory Chamber will have to concoct wrongdoing.
So important is the case against Nascimento to Infantino that Maria Claudia Rojas has elected herself to personally lead the investigations.
“Moreover, please note that in accordance with Art. 63 of the FCE, the Chairperson will lead the investigation proceedings as the chief of the investigations”
Clearly, a lot will be lost in translation whenever this matter is taken up by the Chamber, as will the misrepresentation of facts to suit a certain narrative.
We keep asking, is this it? Is this the limit of the much-hyped Ahmad slyness and scheming? Why won’t this little monster scheme Africa into having 12 instead of just 9 slots at the expanded FIFA World Cup 2026 (UEFA has 16 slots) or more slots at the expanded FIFA club World Cup in 2021?
Considering the amount of time that Infantino spends scheming needlessly for vanities, when does he get sufficient time to do actual football work?
Nepotism appears to come so very easily to Infantino, see how he took Ahmad’s lover to be the FIFA SG (Fatma) and his own (Maria Rojas) to head the Investigatory Chamber of the Ethics committee.
In Africa, he employed his former classmate Véron Mosengo-Omba as FIFA boss where he oversees at least 20 dysfunctional FAs and leagues and where Normalization committees are formed every 3 months.
How do FA Presidents without funcrional National leagues in their countries continue to enjoy the power of suffrage at the FIFA and CAF elections, on the basis of one-man, one-vote?
Why should the US or Germany have a similar single vote with Somalia or Eritrea, where these virtual non-entities have the power to make a decision on the direction that they would want football to take in the World?
The only reform needed at FIFA and CAF is to link the ability to vote, to the performance of their football and use of the FIFA grants.