“I have always said that if I was asked to testify in front of a national parliament, then my obligation to cooperate would take precedence,” Maduro said in a telephone interview, his first public comments on Tuesday’s hearing.
Damian Collins, the chairman of Parliament’s culture, media and sport committee, which invited Maduro, described the appearance in London as “really something unique.”
“The level of public interest is so great that he’s decided to cooperate with a parliamentary inquiry and answer questions freely about what he knows from working inside FIFA, something which FIFA has actively restricted anyone from doing,” Collins said.
FIFA’s ethics committee has been made aware of Maduro’s appearance, and it is that body that would be required to scrutinize any claims of wrongdoing that he may make. FIFA declined to comment on Maduro’s planned appearance or his potential testimony.
For Infantino and FIFA, the stakes are high. Infantino won the FIFA presidency in February 2016, less than a year after the United States Department of Justice conducted a series of raids and arrests that toppled the organization’s previous leadership. Infantino has endured a bumpy ride as president, however, with his promises of steering FIFA into an era of transparency frequently undermined by continuing claims of wrongdoing against top soccer officials, as well as the sudden removal of officials hired to ensure that lofty promises of good governance were carried out.
Maduro’s independent review committee, with its responsibility for vetting candidates for FIFA committees, made several decisions that proved internally unpopular, including one to block Russia’s powerful deputy prime minister, Vitaly Mutko, from running for re-election to the FIFA Council. The governance committee also demanded that a well-connected Kuwaiti sheikh, Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah, resubmit to an integrity check after he was identified as a co-conspirator in a separate United States soccer corruption case. Al-Sabah quit soccer rather than submit to an ethics check, though he remains a senior figure in the International Olympic Committee. He has denied all accusations of wrongdoing.
Maduro declined to say what he was likely to reveal at Tuesday’s meeting with British lawmakers, but he said he would provide only information about which he had direct knowledge.
When Infantino hired Maduro, who also served as the advocate general of the European Court of…