Unfriendly fire inside Fifa

Two senior Fifa officials, Marco Villiger and Tomaz Vesel, filed the false complaint against secretary general Fatma Samoura, a complaint that was dismissed by the ethics committee. The consequences could be severe, as FIFA’s code of ethics clearly states that filing false accusations is a serious violation. By Pål Ødegård and Håvard Melnæs The past week was crazy even by FIFA standards. Last Wednesday BBC revealed that FIFA’s ethics committee had received a complaint against secretary general Fatma Samoura from members of the 2026 World Cup bid evaluation task force. Samoura, who’s full name is Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura, was family related to fellow Senegalese El Hadji Diouf, the claim said. El Hadji Diouf, the former Liverpool forward and Senegal international, is now an ambassador for Morocco’s bid to host the 2026 World Cup. If such a relation was true, it would be a violation of the ethics code for Samoura not to disclose this fact, since it creates a possible conflict of interest. However, there is no family relation between the two. Not only is Diouf a very common surname in Senegal. El Hadji Diouf was not even baptized Diouf, but as Diallo after his father Boubacar Diallo, also a famous former Senegalese footballer. Both publicly dismissed any family relations as ‘ridiculous’. And on Friday, the ethics committee issued a statement that Samoura would not be investigated, as the claims against her had ‘no substance’. But who filed the complaint? According our sources it was Marco Villiger, deputy secretary general of Fifa, and Tomaz Vesel, chairman of the independent audit & compliance committee. Boomerang effect? Now, why would two such high ranking FIFA officials file such a flimsy accusation? As BBC stated in their article when the story broke, FIFA president Gianni Infantino instructed the task force members to find something that could hurt the Moroccan bid. It is widely believed that Infantino prefers that the United bid o...

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