Top Kiwi barrister Nicholas Davidson, QC, is quitting Fifa's ethics committee after a concerning and frustrating two-year experience of trying to help bring Fifa to account.
He was one of only six investigatory chamber members worldwide on the ethics committee. The development effectively galvanises New Zealand Football's call for governance change - and sends a clear message to Fifa's top brass, some of whom are in New Zealand for the Under-20 World Cup.
Davidson welcomed NZF's decision to "vote with independence" yesterday after they made a late decision to switch their presidential vote from Sepp Blatter to rival Prince Ali Bin al-Hussein.
Davidson's impending exit from Fifa is born, in part, from undertaking additional legal work, but also out of frustration with Fifa, who are engulfed in a corruption scandal.
"I would like to record my endorsement of the NZF executive committee to vote with independence and principle in the presidential election," Davidson told the Herald on Sunday. "I want to then emphasise the immense significance of the criminal processes being engaged in the US and Switzerland. Out of them will come evidence which will found the Fifa investigations."
Davidson commended Fifa investigation colleagues Cornel Borbely and Michael Garcia, the latter of whom resigned suddenly six months ago in frustration after the release of his damning report was infamously also blocked by Fifa.
The Kiwi's impending exit shines new light into concerns Fifa's investigators have had about the working environment they were placed into - including basics around secure communications and being asked to wear Fifa uniforms.
"I was very frustrated I could not get the Garcia report. Investigators need to know the whole story, in my view. Michael Garcia plays by the rules and he had no authority to disclose it to me," Davidson said.
"Fifa's investigation team is independent, determined and very capable. There are some matters which must be addressed to make it as effective as it needs to be. The perception of independence goes with the reality.
"At the heart of the Fifa building, Fifa-branded suits, in my view, are incompatible with that independence. ... Telecommunications must be fully secure and I had my reservations about that.
"There should be established protocols for engaging with federal and local investigation and enforcement agencies. I raised this at my first and only meeting in Zurich."
It also appears Fifa tried to gag Davidson after he revealed in February he was removing himself from Fifa's controversial 2018 and 2022 World Cup bid inquiry to avoid any perceived conflict of interest.
"I am making a statement as I am independent. I am not prepared to be told that communications must only come through Fifa media."
Davidson, who is also the outgoing ceremonial figurehead of NZF whose role as honorary president involved no governance of the organisation, urged an off-field corruption scandal should not be allowed to get in the way of New Zealand's under-20 World Cup hosting.
"This tournament was always intended to be the end of my tenure with NZF and, while what's happening in the background at Fifa is a great shame, it should not be allowed to overshadow this wonderful youth World Cup in New Zealand.
"NZF is making such a commitment to growing the game and doing so in the right way. For that, I commend them."