FIFA President Gianni Infantino attempted to block a decision to ban Russian Deputy Prime Minister from standing for the governing body's ruling Council, axed Governance Committee chairman Miguel Maduro has claimed.
In an appearance before the British Government's Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, Maduro accused Infantino of trying to exert "undue influence" on him.
The former Portuguese Government Minister, controversially replaced as the chairman of the Governance Committee in May, claimed the FIFA secretary general Fatma Samoura warned him the move to bar Mutko from the Council would have a disastrous impact on Infantino's Presidency and the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
"In that meeting, the secretary general made clear that it was extremely problematic - more than that - she said that we needed to find a solution to declare Mr Mutko eligible because, otherwise, the Presidency itself would be in question; the World Cup would be a disaster - that was her view - and, as a consequence, the continued presidency of Mr Infantino would also be in question," Maduro told the Select Committee.
"I told her very simply that that was a matter of political opportunity that was not for my Committee to decide.
"That was simply not what we were interested to do.
"We were interested with the application of the rules, independently of the persons in question."
Maduro confirmed that the decision to ban Mutko was the main reason for his departure after just eight months in the role earlier this year.
Mutko, his country's former Sports Minister, was barred from standing for re-election due to his role within the Russian Government, as it was deemed to breach FIFA's rules on Government interference.
Maduro insisted banning Mutko was the right call and was "very clear" that the Governance Committee were following FIFA's rules.
He accused Infantino, elected FIFA President in February 2016, of placing his own survival in front of the governance reforms within the scandal-hit body.
"The way we exercised our independence created a lot of opposition from the main stakeholders of the Presidency," he said.
"[Infantino] had to choose between the independent bodies and preserving his own Presidency.
"The problem is that it – opposition to independent scrutiny – is so deeply embedded in their culture that in practice they do not accept the consequences of reform."
Maduro's testimony, delayed after his flight was cancelled yesterday, raised further questions on Infantino's ethical conduct during his tenure so far.
Maduro's mandate as the head of the Governance Committee was not renewed by the FIFA Council, despite his appointment being hailed as crucial to the fight against corruption.
Hans-Joachim Eckert and Cornel Borbély, heads ofthe Adjudicatory and Investigatory Chambers of the FIFA Ethics Committee respectively, were also dismissed from their roles.
Infantino seemed to imply the reason for Maduro's departure was because of his European nationality.
This comes despite the fact that Tomaž Vesel, from Slovenia, was the only chairman of the five Independent Committees to retain his position for another four-year term.
Maduro is set to speak again on his time at FIFA at a Council of Europe hearing in Paris on September 22.
Eckert and Borbély are also due to discuss FIFA's governance at the session.
In a statement, FIFA hit back at some of the accusations made by Maduro.
World football's governing body claimed the independence of FIFA’s committees and the success of FIFA’s reform process "will only be measured by the decisions taken in the future and not by personal opinions".
"FIFA has noted the comments, interpretations and opinions made by Mr Miguel Maduro at the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee of the House of Commons," the statement added.
"In this respect, FIFA has never put the competencies of previous committee members into question and has always respected their decisions.
"For Miguel Maduro to be in regular contact with the FIFA administration, sometimes under his own initiative and in order to seek advice, was normal in the course of his work.
"Exchange between the administration and FIFA’s committees, which in the end all defend FIFA’s interests, are logical and even desirable, so for these exchanges to be portrayed as undue influence is factually incorrect.
"Today, the people in charge of FIFA’s different committees bear even more of a responsibility to bring about reform then those who preceded them."