By Ali Iveson |
The investigatory chamber of FIFA’s Ethics Commission has both opened and closed an investigation into the conduct of Gianni Infantino, finding the President has not breached the body’s Code of Ethics.
Criminal proceedings have been opened against Infantino in Switzerland over dealings between the FIFA President and Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber – the same allegations which led to the Ethics Commission investigation.
The case centers on undocumented meetings that Lauber and Infantino are alleged to have held in 2016 and 2017, with criminal proceedings announced last month.
Before that, a complaint against Infantino which alleged breaches of the FIFA Code of Ethics was filed before the FIFA Ethics Committee on June 21, FIFA said.
“In accordance with article 59 of the FIFA Code of Ethics, the chairperson of the investigatory chamber has opened a preliminary investigation on the basis of the allegations,” read a statement.
“In particular, as the allegations are related to meetings between the FIFA President and the Swiss Attorney General which have since been made the subject of an investigation by a Swiss federal special prosecutor, Stefan Keller, all further relevant facts and materials available to the investigatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee were also examined.
“In this connection, access was granted to a copy of the decision of 29 July 2020 by the Swiss special prosecutor, as well as the various decisions of the Swiss Federal Criminal and Administrative Courts relating to the matter and the ruling of the Supervisory Authority for the Office of the Attorney General relating to Mr Lauber.
“All of this material has been duly scrutinised by the chairperson of the investigatory chamber in the context of the preliminary investigation.”
However, said chairperson “has decided to file the complaint and close the case due to the evident lack of a prima facie case regarding any alleged breach of the FIFA Code of Ethics”.
The statement added: “Based on the information available to date, no aspect of the conduct analysed constitutes a violation of the FIFA regulations – some aspects do not even fall within the provisions of the FIFA Code of Ethics, or justify the adoption of any kind of measure, including that of a provisional suspension.”
Both Infantino and Lauber deny any wrongdoing.
In March, Lauber was sanctioned for disloyalty, lying and breaching his office’s code of conduct after committing what the supervisory authority watchdog described as “very serious breaches” before and during disciplinary proceedings opened by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) into corruption at FIFA.
Lauber agreed today to step down at the end of the month, bringing to an end impeachment proceedings against him.
FIFA has previously claimed that the meetings in question were designed to show how the organisation and Infantino were willing to cooperate with the OAG.
Last week, FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura claimed world football was “strongly united” behind Infantino.
Football’s global governing body has also insisted that Infantino will not step aside despite the criminal proceedings.
Infantino became a member of the International Olympic Committee in January.
Infantino became FIFA President in 2016 and was re-elected in 2019.
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.