Saturday, May 28, 2011

FIFA - An International Disgrace

There has long been rumour and story of corruption within FIFA so it is no real surprise to see the fresh allegations being made against its very senior members this week with even the previously bullet proof Sepp Blatter being asked to face an Ethics Committee. What has been surprising however is that the whistle blowers have been FIFA members themselves. Usually where ranks have closed, the thirst and lust for power with the impending election has seen an implosion to a level of infighting never previously seen.

The outcome of the various investigations and proceedings are almost irrelevant as it is clear that the problem within FIFA is endemic and that it goes to the very top. Only a complete overhaul and shake up of the procedures and personnel would make any meaningful difference, either carrying on with Blatter or replacing him with the equally distasteful bin Hamman will simply see FIFA carry on their merry way with pockets full of cash.

The debacle over the World Cup voting system was well documented and it now seems that the internal voting system for the Presidential candidacy is equally shady and utterly tainted. Stories of 'bundles of cash' being handed to delegates in Trinidad are highly disturbing but not in the least surprising. The election should be suspended following a full enquiry with the members in question all being suspended pending such enquiry.

It would be naive in the extreme to think that business around the world works any differently in many instances but where it is so incredibly distasteful is that FIFA is meant to be a governing body with a mandate to look after the good of football, not to make its employees rich. Ethics are regularly questionable in a huge degree of businesses but those businesses are attempting to make money pure and simple, they are not posing as a benevolent organisation acting for the good of the World whilst at the same time furiously lining their own pockets, the hypocrisy is almost without compare.

With this washing of dirty laundry in front of the entire World, FIFA has lost every shred of respect it may have still held as an organisation. The whole world will continue to love football but FIFA is doing much to harm the image of the game. FIFA is expected to announce record profits of hundreds of millions of euros and when one thinks of the World Cup nowadays it is a trophy plastered with the illustrious names of McDonalds, Budweiser, Adidas (a sports company at least, not just an organisation that makes people fatter) and Visa (which makes people poorer).

There is nothing wrong with FIFA turning a profit if the money is to be put back into the sport with the aim of helping build and improve facilities in poorer nations and giving children a chance to play the sport where otherwise they would not. For delegates however to simply skim money off the top and live and travel so lavishly is an utter disgrace and so unfortunately is FIFA - No Nonsense.