MPs’ FIFA Probe ‘An Important Reminder On Promoting Ethical Behaviour’

Regulatory Expert Reacts To Announcement Of New Investigation

20.07.2015

The upcoming investigation by MPs into the recent corruption scandal related to FIFA is an important reminder to businesses to the need to actively promote ethical corporate behaviour within their organisations, according to a leading regulatory lawyer.

Culture, Media and Sport select committee chairman Jesse Norman has said “Britain must play its part” in ongoing work related to the scandal and has stated MPs will be asking the Football Association, the Serious Fraud Office and sponsors to provide detail on their experiences related to FIFA.

He added that they would be pressed to support to support urgent reform in relation to the global governance of football.

According to Sarah Wallace, a Partner and specialist regulatory lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, organisations which are asked to come forward will have key responsibilities to meet while others can learn important lessons from the issue at large.

Expert Opinion
"Organisations on the receiving end of a request for evidence by the Culture Select Committee should ascertain whether it has the power to compel them to attend and ascertain what information or evidence the Committee can actually require to be handed over.

"If a sponsor receives a request for information and agrees to co-operate, they need to ascertain the best person or team to field the enquiries and gather information. It is also vital to ensure that any information provided, either in writing or orally, is factually accurate and not misleading. If not already done so, the sponsor should decide whether it is prudent to investigate internally the basis upon which any historical business obtained from FIFA, or any of its agents, to check it was not directly or indirectly obtained illegally.

"If it is not already doing so, a sponsor should also consider whether to review and update procedures and policies as to how business is obtained in industries or countries where allegations of corrupt activity are rife. There is a real risk that participating with a Select Committee’s enquiry can trigger reputational harm, so now is the time for corporate boards to ensure that they are doing all they can to promote and have evidence of ethical corporate behaviour."
Sarah Wallace, Partner