Harold Mayne-Nicholls, who recently revealed that he was considering standing against Sepp Blatter in next year’s FIFA presidential election, is among those being investigated by ethics chief Michael Garcia following his probe into World Cup bidding.
Current serving FIFA executive committee members Spain’s Ángel María Villar Llona, Michel D’Hooghe from Belgium and Worawi Makudi from Thailand are also among the names being probed by Garcia for possible ethics code breaches.
Franz Beckenbauer, a former FIFA executive committee member, is another under investigation by Garcia.
Last week Garcia announced “a number of individuals” have had formal cases opened against them .
Mayne-Nicholls, who led the inspection team which compiled reports into the countries bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup, says he is not concerned by the investigation nor by its impact on his reputation.
“As a committee, they have the right to ask all the questions they need to in order to be sure about the final decision that will be taken,” he said.
“I do not think [the investigation] is because I might want to run. I think it is because the Ethics Committee needs to have a very clear picture about everything that happened in the 2018 and 2022 bids. I get relaxed with this because if they are investigating such a small thing then I can imagine how they are investigating the real, big things and that will give us transparency.”
When asked if he feared his reputation might be impugned, he told UAE’s The National that it would have no bearing on his decision to stand.
“It’s part of the rules of the game when you run for such a position,” he said. “When I ran for the presidency of the Chilean FA, it was more or less the same. When you decide to take this kind of action, you know there are risks and one of them is people will try to damage you. But I don’t care. This kind of thing will never change my decision. If I decide to run for it, it is because that is the decision I have made; if I decide not to run, it is not because of anything like that.”
Mayne-Nicholls said he has yet to decide if he will stand, but that he had been given significant encouragement to do so.
“The possibility is there and it motivates me very much to make some changes,” he said. “The secretary general said the image of FIFA cannot be lower, so things must change. It is very clear for everyone and, of course, that motivates me a lot.
“Twenty years ago, the IOC’s [International Olympic Committee’s] image was terrible, even worse than FIFA today. Now no one talks about the image of the Olympics, so you can do it – but you have to change the structure. You can’t keep the same people making the changes. You need new faces to change the old image of your organisation.”
All candidates must submit their interest before January 29, four months ahead of the election on May 29. So far only Blatter and Jerome Champagne, a former FIFA deputy general secretary, have confirmed they will stand.