Zwanziger: I have complete confidence

Theo Zwanziger, FIFA Executive Committee Member and Chairman of the Task Force Revision and Statutes
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In light of recent media reports about the Independent Governance Committee (IGC) led by Professor Mark Pieth, former chairman of the Task Force for the Revision of FIFA Statutes Dr Theo Zwanziger gives his views in an interview with * *

* Dr Zwanziger, what is your response to the latest media criticism of the Independent Governance Committee (IGC) led by Professor Mark Pieth?
*Dr Theo Zwanziger: The media coverage and criticism from various sides is not appropriate because it does not do justice to the overall reform process and, in particular, the excellent work Professor Pieth has done as an advisor to FIFA. Professor Pieth’s role was not to resolve disputes; that is the role of FIFA’s independent Ethics Committee, which was restructured into a two-chamber system comprised of investigatory and adjudicatory chambers. Professor Pieth and I worked extremely well together and adopted practically all of his proposals. Professor Pieth readily took on his role and went about his work with complete confidence. He has the specialist knowledge required to offer such advice, and his proposals helped us enormously. This reform enables us to evaluate our processes, even those dating back many years. We just have to live with the fact that this does not always produce the results the media would like.

*There have even been doubts raised about the independence of Professor Pieth.
People should stop questioning the independence of such a credible character. Professor Pieth’s independence was geared towards the reform proposals – that was his job – and he put forward these proposals autonomously and without influence. Everything else was consultancy work, which in this sense is not independent. The only way I can interpret his comments in the press is that it was important to him that these investigations were carried out, but as this was the case, there was no reason for him to analyse that. When Professor Pieth gives his views on the ISL file, it has nothing to do with his role. That is solely the concern of Judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, who has already expressed his views on the matter.

*How satisfied are you with FIFA’s reform process?
We have made good progress on several important points. In particular, the decision that the FIFA Executive Committee will no longer award the FIFA World Cup was an important step towards increased transparency and credibility. The FIFA Congress will select the host nation of the next World Cup, a proposal I have not seen in any of the confederations. In addition, we have introduced an integrity check and implemented comprehensive ethics reforms. We have a clear Code of Ethics with unambiguous guidelines for the behaviour of officials and now also have the opportunity to check this independently and intensively and draw the necessary conclusions where appropriate. I think these have been very successful measures. We should be satisfied with what has been achieved, and it was only possible with the total readiness of those within FIFA and the help of a shrewd advisor such as Professor Pieth.

The last point that is still open is the process related to the Garcia report, and the Ethics Committee – which is not influenced by FIFA in terms of procedure, timing or findings – is working on that. In my view, a prompt decision and announcement from the Ethics Committee would be preferable where legally possible. I have complete confidence in the work of both chambers of the Ethics Committee led by Hans-Joachim Eckert and Cornel Borbely.

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