- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 6, 2016

LYON, France (AP) - FIFA has appointed the state auditor of Slovenia to replace Domenico Scala, who resigned in protest as chairman of the panel overseeing its billion-dollar annual spending.

FIFA says Tomaz Vesel passed an integrity check to be picked as Audit and Compliance Committee chairman by President Gianni Infantino and leaders of six continental governing bodies.

Vesel’s tasks include leading a three-member panel to propose salaries and contracts for Infantino and FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura.

A dispute over Infantino’s $2 million pay package offer from the Scala-chaired panel was key to the breakdown of their working relations.

Scala resigned in May after the annual FIFA Congress at what he saw as Infantino’s influence over independent officials.

FIFA’s auditors, KPMG, also resigned last month after more than a decade’s work.

Vesel takes up a key position with FIFA during a period of turmoil in world soccer’s ruling body.

After Infantino was elected in February, Scala resigned following weeks of conflict behind the scenes and FIFA fired its long-time finance director, Markus Kattner, for alleged misconduct.

In recent weeks, German-language newspapers have published a series of leaked transcripts and memos from FIFA that have targeted Infantino’s integrity.

A recording of a FIFA Council meeting in May included Infantino describing his “insulting” salary offer. His predecessor Sepp Blatter got a basic $3 million salary in 2015, though earned much more in previous years due to contracted bonuses.

Infantino said Wednesday that Vesel joining FIFA could help rebuild confidence.

“This is a vital role within the organization and Mr. Vesel’s audit expertise and international experience will help reassure stakeholders and restore trust in FIFA,” Infantino said in a FIFA statement.

The 49-year-old Vesel has worked for the past three years as president of Slovenia’s Court of Auditors, after being elected by lawmakers.

“The Court of Auditors is the highest body for supervising state accounts, the state budget and all public spending in Slovenia,” FIFA said. “In addition to his work in Slovenia, Mr. Vesel has worked with numerous European governments and the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) as an expert adviser.”

Vesel will help oversee FIFA’s commercial contracts and allocation of hundreds of millions of dollars each year in project funding for 211 national member federations and the six continental confederations. FIFA also contributes several hundred million dollars annually toward the cost of organizing the World Cup.

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