FIFA has accused former official Miguel Maduro of making “factually incorrect” allegations about their attempts to interfere with his work.
Maduro, who was chairman of the organisation’s governance committee until April, claimed that senior FIFA executives tried to influence decisions he made during his 11 months in office.
Foremost among the allegations made to the UK government’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee was that president Gianni Infantino tried to intervene in his decision to block Vitaly Mutko from standing for a place on the FIFA Council.
Maduro accused Infantino and secretary general Fatma Samoura of warning him that the 2018 World Cup could be at risk if Russia’s deputy prime minister was barred from running for office.
Mutko was successfully blocked in March as becoming part of the council was deemed to be in conflict with FIFA’s regulations on the non-interference of government officials.
Maduro alleged Infantino expressed “great concern” about the decision on Mutko and said of FIFA: “There is a culture in the institution itself that is extremely resistant to accountability.”
In response, FIFA has denied ever attempting to influence committee members and says it considers its responsibility to introduce reform to be greater than ever.
“FIFA has noted the comments, interpretations and opinions made by Mr Miguel Maduro at the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee of the House of Commons,” it began in a statement.
“In this respect, FIFA has never put the competencies of previous committee members into question and has always respected their decisions.
“For Miguel Maduro to be in regular contact with the FIFA administration, sometimes under his own initiative and in order to seek advice, was normal in the course of his work. Exchange between the administration and FIFA’s committees, which in the end all defend FIFA’s interests, are logical and even desirable, so for these exchanges to be portrayed as undue influence is factually incorrect.
“Today, the people in charge of FIFA’s different committees bear even more of a responsibility to bring about reform than those who preceded them. The independence of FIFA’s committees and the success of FIFA’s reform process will only be measured by the decisions taken in the future and not by personal opinions.”