Corruption in FIFA: The Scourge of Football
Aravind Viswanath 1 Feb 2018

Corruption in FIFA: The Scourge of Football

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) is the highest body of global governance in football. It enjoys the distinction of being one of the richest sports bodies the world over. FIFA, the monopolistic behemoth that it is, reaps profits largely because neither does it have to pay for the players’ services nor for the use of the stadiums. Add to that its scanty tax liability. With great money comes greater greed. More often than not FIFA has found itself on the receiving end of innumerable sinister corruption allegations, the most recently notable, being the World Cup allocations to Russia and Qatar. A media sting operation had caught a few FIFA Executive Committee members being bribed in exchange of their votes in the bidding process. On November 12, 2014 FIFA released its internal investigation results and conveniently absolved itself of any wrongdoing, labelling its actions to be ‘well-thought, robust and professional.’ The fact that it refuses to admit guilt is sheer ignominy and unbecoming of an organization supposed to conduct fair and good governance. Sadly, money holds cardinal prominence in the pragmatic society that we live in, and values of truth are thrown out of the window. This throws light on the very fact that FIFA, on most occasions, turns a blind eye towards unethical procedures and is thus beyond shaming. It only goes on to show that the very noble fundamental philosophy on which it is found, is at grave danger of being rendered redundant. Moral cleanliness is something to be deemed of utmost significance especially in something like football administration. There needs to be some solutions to tackle the menace of corruption which has assumed gigantic proportions. While it should be acknowledged that corruption is a complex tool to handle, replacing FIFA with another system will be foolhardy. Sepp Blatter should step down as President and ideally, it is high time that someone young and incorruptible take on the reins instead. Malfeasance is ill-advised for leadership and so, it is urgent that the organization be split into two; one monitoring corruption and the other regulating marketing, epitomizing the popular ‘checks and balances’ system. The fans and media can usher in a path of introspection for FIFA to embark upon, by merely boycotting FIFA sponsors or the tournament. Powerhouse nations can also pull out of FIFA and use that as leverage to thwart corruption. The partners and sponsors must demand for democracy and total transparency in the FIFA machinery. Allegations have to be investigated independently and keeping tabs on where the developmental money is going in reality is a must. Additionally, bringing external accountability to the table will definitely send positive waves to the way FIFA operates. Despite these suggestions we have no reason to expect anything different until and unless national governments step in and bring back football its integrity. The ‘beautiful game’ will be tarnished and scarred forever if that does not happen.

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