South African businesswoman Sindi Mabaso-Koyana has been elevated to one of the most important positions in FIFA but in the wake of a public relations blow to the image of the already under-fire organisation.
The Umlazi-born entrepreneur takes over as chairman of the powerful audit and compliance committee at world football’s governing body from Domenico Scala, who resigned in protest at underhand moves to limit his independent authority to continue to clean up the corrupt body.
Instead of ending its first Congress under Infantino on a positive note, FIFA was forced to scramble and defend a last-minute amendment that was termed a “complete betrayal to all of those who thought they had voted for change, transparency, fair play and reform” by Jordanian Prince Ali, who ran against Infantino during February’s presidential election.
The new FIFA president has had to scramble to defend the vote, by 186-1 at last week’s Congress in Mexico City, of an amendment that gave the new FIFA Council the right to fire the heads of FIFA’s independent bodies – the audit and compliance committee and two chambers of the ethics committee.
Scala accused Infantino of “smuggling” the measure onto the Congress agenda and took it to mean that they were “factually deprived of their independence and are in danger of becoming auxiliary agents of those whom they should actually supervise.” He added that “this undermines a central pillar of the good governance of FIFA and destroys a substantial achievement of the reforms” and as a result was resigning his position.
FIFA moved quickly to say it was all a misunderstanding, and the amendment was simply intended to give the Council the power for one year to weed out bad apples on the various FIFA committees found to have taken part in corruption.
Scala had “misinterpreted the purpose of the decision taken,” said FIFA in a statement, adding: “Mr. Scala has made unfounded claims which are baseless. FIFA is focused on reform and the path forward as evidenced by the appointment of a new FIFA secretary general,” in reference to the hiring of Senegal’s Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura, the first woman and first African named to FIFA’s CEO position.
The audit committee, said FIFA, would now be headed by Mabaso-Konyana, who was previously Scala’s deputy.
A chartered accountant by qualification, Mabaso-Konyana has held numerous high powered positions in the corporate world, including chief finance officer of Transnet at age 30. She now has her own company, Advanced Capital, and sits on the board of Toyota SA.