By Andrew Warshaw
November 20 – “We’re round the corner and watching you, FIFA…” That’s what many may read into a new partnership between the two former heads of FIFA’s ethics department who have gone into business together in Zurich to advise on good governance in sport.
Cornel Borbely (pictured right), who was chairman of the ethics committee’s investigatory arm, and Hans-Joachim Eckert (pictured left), who ran the adjudicatory chamber, were both sacked last May during a purge of senior governance watchdogs.
Their collaboration brought down a string of senior officials – not least Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini – only for FIFA to decide not to renew their mandates amid unconfirmed reports that Gianni Infantino was being investigated for possible wrongdoing. Their removal, Borbely said at the time, was “politically motivated” and “means nothing else but the end of the reform process.”
But now he and Eckert – together with communications expert Marc Tenbucken who used to represent the latter when he worked for FIFA – have set up the Sports Governance Unit (SGU) agency to advise on integrity in sports.
“Today, it is more essential than ever for sports officials to be concerned with questions on ethics and compliance,” Eckert said in what could be construed as a veiled criticism of the current FIFA regime.
In an accompanying statement, the agency said fans and sponsors alike “expect more and more transparency and organisational governance standards” and that it would “advise associations, clubs, sponsors and governments on issues in the context of good governance, integrity and compliance.”
It also warned that “public authorities…are now closely monitoring the activities of sports associations and professional clubs.”
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