Two members of FIFA oversight panel leave in wake of chairman's removal
GENEVA -- In a further blow to FIFA's image under President Gianni Infantino, two more respected members of its governance oversight panel have left following the removal of their chairman last week.
Navi Pillay, the former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and corporate human rights expert Ron Popper, have resigned, FIFA said on Wednesday.
Their move follows the exit of Miguel Maduro, a Portuguese lawyer and former government minister.
"The world of football still hasn't realized what is required if they really want to act under the rule of law and in a manner that is subject to effective, independent scrutiny," Maduro told The Associated Press on Wednesday in a telephone interview.
Maduro's duties in less than a year with FIFA included vetting candidates for senior positions, and led to Russia's deputy prime minister Vitaly Mutko being barred from an election last month to retain his FIFA Council seat. Mutko was judged to be compromised by his political duties at home, where he remains head of the 2018 World Cup organizing committee.
FIFA's head ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert and lead prosecutor Cornel Borbely were also replaced against their wishes. Most of their teams also were not retained, despite there being no clear transition plan for hundreds of ongoing cases.
Maduro told The AP it was a "dramatic and drastic decision" for FIFA under Infantino to push through such upheaval without "strong justification."
FIFA's appointment of Pillay in January gave credibility to Infantino's pledged commitment to anti-corruption reforms after years of financial scandals and criminal investigations of FIFA in the United States, Switzerland and elsewhere.
Pillay, a South African judge, led the U.N.'s human rights office in Geneva from 2008-14.
Pillay and Popper joined another governance panel colleague, New York University law professor Joseph Weiler who also resigned as an independent overseer hours after Maduro's exit was announced.