Why was Sunil Gulati working to force out Domenico Scala?
Earlier today some very interesting things about Sunil Gulati hit the internet.
For unknown reasons FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Sunil Gulati worked behind the scenes to get FIFA’s Audit and Compliance chief Domenico Scala to resign.
In this article from FAZ that transcribes a recorded FIFA meeting in Mexico City the President of US Soccer is quoted as saying that
Gulati: “We met a number of times in the last 24 hours. We thought we had a resolution, a friendly resolution that would work. We did not get that realized, we do not have that right now.”
After Gulati was unable to get him to resign as Inside World Football reports here
Ultimately this led to a statutes change that removed the independence of the ethics committee and other governance officials by giving FIFA the power to hire and fire them at its own discretion. This inevitably forced Scala’s resignation – he would presumably have been fired by FIFA in any case once the motion was passed by Congress.
But for some reason Sunil Gulati was worried about having a legitimate reason to fire him… one, it would seem that was not necessary to have to work behind the scenes to get him to step down. The FAZ transcript quotes him as saying
Gulati: “We need facts.” (…) “We can not operate that way. We can not dismiss people without a piece of paper and facts. “
Why would the head of US Soccer feel that he did not need “facts” to try to proactively work in secret to have Scala resign but would need “facts” to vote in public to have him fired? Was he worried about potential media investigation in to the “why” he was voting to have him step down?
Could Sunil Gulati have been working diligently to have Scala, a known reformist within the confines of FIFA, who was quoted as saying
says he is “consternated” by a decision that makes it possible for the council to “impede” investigations by either dismissing committee members or “through the threat of a dismissal”.
This, he added, “undermines a central pillar of the good governance of Fifa and destroys a substantial achievement of the reforms”.
“[This is] a wake-up call to those persons who genuinely advocated for implementing reforms,”
It is not the fact Infantino was elected, or any of the other names in the FIFA presidential race were elected. It might not have even been the run offs. It was that corrupters, specifically MLS commissioner Don Garber and Gulati played a central role.
The corruption started and ended with their bargaining of FIFA presidential candidates. The bargaining process is how deal makers can significantly wield their influence to get what they wanted. Allegedly, one of the promises to not enforce one of futbol’s most empowering principles and one that provides actual meritocracy to sustain the institution of futbol.
That principle, the principle of promotion and relegation, preferably implemented based on results on the current season alone, is so important to sustaining the game that FIFA has coded the principle as an ethics principle in its bylaws.
Scala would be in charge of making investigating all member organizations that are not following FIFA by-laws such as this one concerning meritocracy and promotion and relegation that the USSF does not follow, solidarity payments and training compensation for youth players that Liviu Bird covered wonderfully for SI in several articles that USSF does not follow, or looking in to how Sunil Gulati, Don Garber, Chuck Blazer and Sepp Blatter are all tied together when dealing with US soccer.
It would seem that Sunil Gulati, Don Garber and MLS, and USSF as a whole have multiple reasons to make sure that FIFA does not actually reform… but just talks a good game.