High-profile accounting company KPMG has reportedly pulled out of its job as auditor of Fifa finances because officials are not convinced that the world football governing association is serious about reform.
New Fifa "reform" president, Gianni Infantino, and his management team, have not done nearly enough to "fully implement" significant changes promised in the wake of massive corruption indictments by the US Department of Justice against Fifa leaders and sports marketing executives, according to documents viewed by the Financial Times.
KPMG, one of the world's "big four" accounting companies, cannot officially comment on the reason for dropping Fifa as a client because of fiduciary responsibilities, said spokesmen. But a source told the Financial Times that the firm decided it "did not have trust that the new management would do what they said they were going to do to improve governance."
Without "trust and transparency" KPMG's role as auditor "was therefore not tenable," the source said.
Fifa declined to comment when contacted by the newspaper, but an inside source accused KPMG of cutting and running after spending years auditing books when corruption was rampant, according to several indicted in the US case who have already pleaded guilty.
"Where were they for the past 12 years when money was being misused and Gianni wasn't part of Fifa?" asked the source.
Infantino has been under pressure to clean up Fifa but has come up with few changes. His predecessor Sepp Blatter resigned amid the investigations into money laundering and bribes. He has been banned from all football activities for six years, and officials are investigating possible criminal charges against him.
Infantino has pledged in one of his "reforms" to hike Fifa payments to local confederations, much the same way Blatter did to Jack Warner of Trinidad, the indicted ousted president of Fifa's Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football, in part to secure votes from the Caribbean so Blatter could remain as Fifa president.
"Significantly higher funds available to all confederations and member associations bear an increased risk of funds being misused as some of these entities may not yet have the organisational structure, governance and/or possibilities to spend significantly more money in an appropriate way to promote and develop football in their country," KPMG warned Infantino.
KPMG's bailing out on Fifa comes at a time when the association is short staffed. Compliance officer Domenico Scala quit in protest when Fifa's ruling council voted itself the power to hire and fire its "independent" oversight panel. Earlier, acting General Secretary Marcus Kattner — who replaced booted Jerome Valcke — was fired after he was accused of secretly pocketing Fifa funds.