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Integrity checks: a step in right direction

FEATURE: “Under the new FAZ Constitution, Integrity checks are a prerequisite for contesting elections,” said FAZ Vice-president Rix Mwemba in Luapula a week ago as the local football governing body commenced their provincial assemblies for electing AGM delegates.

Henceforth, individuals angling for positions at Football House, ranging from presidency to the Executive committee member shall be subjected to a FAZ vetting system – lest cannot be allowed to contest any position.

Initially, integrity tests were conducted on individuals wishful in contesting FIFA positions.

In 2016, candidates that threw their hat in the  ring to replace the disgraced FIFA president Sepp Blatter were subsequently subjected to integrity checks.

From Africa, Liberia to be precisely, Musa Billity’s aspirations to vie for the helmsman post in Zurich were halted dead in the tracks.

This year, FIFA president Gianni Infantino shall be subject to integrity checks; albeit set to be unopposed at the congress in the French capital on June 5.

In Africa, members associations are re-aligning their statutes in tandem with FIFA – consequently adopting the vetting system of Integrity checks.

In Sierra Leone, in 2017 candidates who were aspiring for the SLFA presidency, to their chagrin, were ordered to undergo the “Checks”.

The same happened in Namibia to members of the normalisation committee who were appointed by FIFA representative in Africa and Caribbean countries Veron Mosengo-Omba

WHAT ARE INTEGRITY CHECKS?

Below is an except from the article published on FIFA.com on 26 September 2016.

Informative note on eligibility checks

In accordance with the FIFA Statutes and the FIFA Governance Regulations, the Review Committee conducts eligibility checks in respect of candidates for and incumbent members of FIFA bodies.

This note, which was sent to the confederations and member associations on 23 September 2016, summarises the more important criteria resulting from the cases already decided by the Review Committee while  intending to provide the relevant bodies and potential candidates with additional guidance regarding future decisions on who to appoint or whether to run or apply for a particular position. Its publication also aims to promote increased transparency and accountability regarding the work of FIFA and give football stakeholders and the general public an insight into the new eligibility mechanism and its practical implementation.

*General standards

For conducting the eligibility checks, the Review Committee relies on a report established by an independent international investigative services company specialising in integrity checks as well as on information provided by the candidate concerned, in particular the eligibility questionnaire (cf. Annexe 1 to the FIFA Governance Regulations), his/her CV and a copy of his/her passport. In this regard, it must be noted that candidates are subject to a check of their integrity as well as of potential conflicts of interest.

With regard to both aspects, the committee considers it important to be able to ask for additional information should it not deem the information available (in particuar the report on the background check and the eligibility questionnaire) sufficient. This said, it is also important to recall that the Review Committee has no investigatory powers and makes a decision on the basis of the information available to it at the moment of that decision.

Regarding past criminal convictions and disciplinary sanctions pronounced against a candidate, the committee always considers both the basis and the nature of the convictions and the sanctions applied.

With regard to ongoing proceedings, the committee recognises that these require a delicate balance between opposing risks and interests.

With respect to potential conflicts of interest, the standard to be applied differs depending on the position for which the respective person is proposed. For example, depending on whether the person is a candidate for a full-time and/or executive position or for a part-time and/or non-executive position, the standard to be applied and the expectation to be had must be different. The independent nature of the position is another relevant factor requiring the candidates to comply with additional conditions.

IN CONCLUSION

By adopting Integrity checks as a prerequisite for contesting elections, the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) has taken a step in the right trajectory.

Thus all and sundry vying for positions at the 2020 FAZ elective AGM, the incumbent inclusive, shall be subject to the checks. That way, stakeholders can rest at easy – knowing the game is in the right hands of men and women of integrity.






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