SBD/May 16, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

FIFA Turmoil Presents An Opportunity To Reform Organization

FIFA recently received “one of the most devastating indictments ever voiced in public about the methods of the men” who run the organization, and some “see the present crisis as an opportunity for reform,” according to Kuper & Blitz of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Four members of FIFA’s Exec Committee were accused of “unethical behaviour ahead of last December’s vote to choose the hosts” of the '18 and '22 World Cups. Still, FIFA “looks better placed” than the IOC “to resist outside pressure.” Former IOC Dir of Television & Marketing Michael Payne said, “The Olympics is founded on the proposition of fair play and the highest ethical values. … The World Cup is a mega-event, but it’s not fundamentally built on a set of values.” But he added, “If FIFA does nothing and the media keeps the heat on, at some point one or other sponsor will be forced to say something.” To date, “no broadcaster or sponsor -- which include Coca-Cola, Visa and Sony -- has publicly criticised FIFA.” The organization's “many scandals in recent years appear not to have damaged the World Cup.” Kuper & Blitz: “Facing little pressure from outside, FIFA will reform only if it wants to” (FINANCIAL TIMES, 5/14).

TIME FOR CHANGE: The FINANCIAL TIMES wrote cricket and soccer “must reform their governance structure.” Sports governance reform “is not impossible.” The IOC “has achieved it.” Two “immediate steps could easily be implemented: presidents of global sports bodies should be restricted to two four-year terms in office, and organizations such as FIFA should have independent, international boards of directors enforcing transparency and accountability” (FINANCIAL TIMES, 5/14).
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