By Tony Attwood
This article continues from Boris Johnson: “Football should have a regulator.” And what would Fifa say about that?
In part one we looked at what happens when Fifa decides that things are not going according to its rule book, and steps in, sweeping aside the body running football in a particular country, while imposing its own “normalisation committee” to run affairs.
Once appointed, the normalisation committee takes over the day-to-day running of football in the accused country, while at the same time setting up a new framework which, it demands in imperial style, the offending country must adopt.
These new rules and regulations are designed to take away from football in the accused country any naughty bits that have crept into the game such as political or religious interferences, along of course with the Fifa mantra of respect of the Laws of the Game.
The normalisation committee then takes over the election procedure to set up the offending country’s new executive committee – which cannot include any members of the normalisation committee. Anyone from the old regime who wants to be on the new committee has to stand for election and have their integrity checked… by Fifa. Which when one comes to think of it, is hilarious in itself.
For once again we see the irony of all this. The people checking the integrity of the new committee are part of the Fifa hierarchy – which basically means allies of Infantino.
Fifa then follows the progress of the member state once it has been set to rights, via a Fifa appointed monitoring committee. Then when the normalisation committee says its job is done it disbands itself and the member state takes over its own affairs once more. If things have not been put rights the normalisation committee can continue to run things for as long as it likes. There is no appeal process.
So, to summarise: Fifa says that a member country is not doing things properly. Fifa sets up a normalisation committee to get things running properly, and then pulls out when satisfied that all is going well. All of which raises a simple question: what if the member of Fifa argues that it is Fifa that is in the wrong, not the member state?
Well, tough. Because a fundamental rule of Fifa is that member associations and leagues must fully comply with all Fifa decisions. There is no right of appeal against Fifa itself. If a suspended state rejects the normalisation procedure it is suspended from Fifa. The only possible outlet for a legal challenge is via the Court of Arbitration for Sport – and as the article The movement to overthrow the Court of Arbitration for Sport is growing showed, not everyone is happy on that front. Certainly, thus far the CAS has taken the view that if Fifa sets up a Normalisation Committee, that is Fifa’s affair and can’t be appealed.
And we ought to ponder that point. The Court of Arbitration says, “if Fifa has done it, you can’t appeal.” Not much arbitration there!
One member of Fifa has had the temerity to stand up to the corrupt monolith and that is the FA of Trinidad and Tobago which accused Fifa of acting like a colonial power. It argued that Fifa had no right to override the FA of Trinidad and Tobago’s constitution. Fifa as we might anticipate responded that it was not subject to the power of any country’s court. Fifa, in short, is above mere national laws (something that Infantino has found of late may not actually be true – hence his removal from Switzerland).
Trinidad and Tobago won its case in the country’s high court, but Fifa refused to accept the verdict saying only CAS could overrule a Fifa decision, and it immediately suspended Trinidad and Tobago. Eventually, the T&T FA gave in.
In another major case the Minister of Sport in Greece postponed the start of the 2016/17 season after a dispute broke out about the selection of referees. Greece you may recall is a country in which allegations of match-fixing are rife – as we have noted across the years in many articles.
In its standard imperious manner Fifa marched in with a normalisation committee which included people who were implicated in the original match-fixing cases. It has to be seen to be believed!
However, it could well be the behaviour of Fifa’s current leader, the notorious Infantino, that will ultimately undermine Fifa and its imperial behaviour as lawmaker, judge and jury. With him now having moved out of Switzerland to Qatar where he can’t be touched legally, we could be looking at a situation which even Fifa’s infamous committees cannot normalise.
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