To what extent has the notion of corruption been ingrained in the principles of supposed democratic following persons within FIFA? Cohen acknowledges the fact that “soccer leaders are more likely to make real changes…pressure caused by the governing body’s legal troubles.” (Cohen, 2015). FIFA has admitted to, not in the exact words, their unwillingness to change a culture that’s been thriving within. There was a previous corruption crisis that occurred in 2011, but the reforms that were promised were very underwhelming and fell short. FIFA as an organization is at fault for this major scandal that they are currently facing; their lack of willingness to change and lack of reform from outside sources have doomed them.
Reluctance in any form or manner can set you far behind your goals. The promise for reform is a critical juncture in the ever escalating scandal for FIFA. After corruption allegations erupted in 2011 and have now spill
ed over into the present day, Francois Carrard, chairman of the FIFA reform commission, noted that “In 2011, you didn’t have your breakfast ruined by police” (Cohen, 2015). Carrard is referring to the initial arrests made by authorities in Zurich this year. There were many reforms that were talked about in FIFA at that time; they were in terms of “good governance, transparency and zero tolerance towards wrongdoing on and also off the pitch.” Since this action didn’t take place back in 2011 perhaps he didn’t think it was as much of an urgent matter to enact proper reform policies. Since the intervention of U.S. and Swiss authorities into criminal activity perpetrated by FIFA officials, it now seems like the right time to make reform. They have several proposals up right now but they will only be voted during a February congress in Zurich. But why couldn’t they have made changes earlier and avoided this scandal they are facing right now? I don’t think that they even want to truly change because this is has been the norm for many decades; they just stick to what they know best no matter the consequences. It would almost be too easy for FIFA to get ahead of a possible scandal, but this isn’t a surprise since they have no other form of reform except from within FIFA itself.
Other institutions and organizations are able to call upon outside sources for reform, but FIFA seeks that within. The problem with that is that if there is criminality going on at the highest levels of FIFA you can be rest assured that it has trickled down to other levels. With bribes and corruption going on I’m sure that money was exchanged and reform was hard to come by. “If Blatter is unable and unwilling, there finally are others with the will and the tools to do his job for him” (Straus, 2015). Straus is talking about the sponsors that FIFA has as well as the FBI, Dept. of Justice, IRS, and Swiss authorities who have the power now to change FIFA. This increased outside pressure has put a strain on FIFA, but they are still unable to make immediate changes. The only change they’ve managed is to provisionally suspend President Blatter and a handful of his associates.
These have only been insignificant forms of reform that have allowed FIFA to stay afloat. As long as they seem like they’re trying to turn it around, I don’t foresee any significant reform as long as Blatter and his closest associates are within FIFA.
- Cohen, R. (2015, November 3). FIFA reform commission chair: Change more likely this time. Retrieved November 7, 2015, from http://bigstory.ap.org/article/e352cf053fef428487bed1ccf07f27f1/fifa-reform-commission-chair-change-more-likely-time
- Straus, B. (2015, May 29). U.S., others haven taken stands, but FIFA reform will come from outside forces. Retrieved November 7, 2015, from http://www.si.com/planet-futbol/2015/05/29/fifa-election-sepp-blatter-reform-sponsors
- Fifa arrests: US asks Switzerland to extradite officials – BBC News. (2015, July 2). Retrieved November 8, 2015, from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33359540
- Longman, J. (2011, May 29). Corruption Inquiry Leads FIFA to Bar Two More Officials. Retrieved November 12, 2015, from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/30/sports/soccer/two-fifa-officials-suspended-panel-clears-blatter.html?_r=0