Introduction to FIFA
Discuss about the Sports Management for Federation of Association Football.
The International Federation of Association Football commonly known as FIFA is the organising body of international soccer, futsal games as well as beach soccer. It is the major body which is responsible for organising the football world cups for both men and women. It was founded in the year 1904, for the purpose of overseeing the footballing activities of many nations such as Spain, Sweden, Netherlands, Germany, France, just to name a few. It does not essentially enforce the rules of the game, but it is responsible for organising a number of international tournaments associated with football, across the globe, most notably the FIFA World cups. It is a non-profit organisation, based in Zurich, Switzerland and is one of the richest sporting bodies in the world, with annual revenue of US$734 million in the year 2017. The body of the organisation consists of the President at the helm of affairs, the secretary general and other members, from the different member nations.
However, in the recent times, the organisation has been hit with a series of road blocks and allegations. It has found itself in troubled waters for more than one occasion. In May 2015, FIFA’s top executives had been arrested after allegations of bribery, fraud, racketeering, money laundering and many other charges of corruptions. Throughout its history, FIFA has encountered enormous amount of storms and has escaped the, without much scathe, but the recent corruption scandal has exposed the long trenches of corruption, which has destroyed the beautiful game. In the report, the corruption scandal of 2015 has been looked into with various solutions to the impending problems.
In the May of 2015, some eight of the top executives of FIFA had been arrested after allegations of bribery, fraud of money, racketeering, wire fraud and many other corrupt activities. It was alleged that all these executives had taken part in the corrupt practices for the purpose of helping various parties for securing the media rights, marketing rights and the locations and hosting bid for the World Cups. The total value of these corrupt activities over the last couple of decades is $150 million. This is just the tip of the iceberg (Pielke, 2013). There are many cases and instances, where the corrupt practices of the organisation has been brought into the limelight. Large amounts of scarce resources were captured during the World Cup of 2014, by means of corrupt practices (independent co.uk, 2014). There also had been instances of resorting to graft while performing the bidding process of the host countries of world cups. Many experts suggest that this was followed during the bidding process of the 2014, 2018 and the 2022 world cups. In 2010, FIFA was accused of looking into its sole financial interests and taking bribes from various countries for the purpose of hosting the world cups as it had allowed the contesting of the host nations for both the 2018 and the 2022 world cups, simultaneously on the same day. This had raised eyebrows, as it led to the chances of bribery playing a major role in the entre bidding process.
In a similar instance, one whistleblower, an executive member of the FIFA, Chuck Blazer had admitted before the court of law about the acceptance of taking bribes in connection with the selection of South Africa as the host for the world cup for the year 2014. Moreover, in this case, an important matter has cropped up, six of the twelve stadiums, which have been built, are now a part of the graft investigations. Major flaws has been found in the explanation given by long term serving FIFA President Mr Sepp Blatter, that FIFA wanted to popularise the sports in non-footballing nations and in other parts of the globe. It has been seen that the body had accepted large amounts of funds as bribes from these nations for the purpose of hosting the football’s tournaments. South Africa’s excessive heat and poor infrastructure, Russia’s instable political climate and declining relations with the western nations and the excessive heat and lack of proper infrastructure in Qatar, were some of the facts, ignored by FIFA.
One of the major problems which lie at the very root of this corrupt organisation is the fact that there is lack of complete transparency, in the working and practices of the organisation. The organisation is works under the laws of the Switzerland and does not publish its minutes or agendas of its meeting, as a result their remains no transparency in its operations. As a result of this, there is lack of faith and transparency in the transactions and the internal workings of FIFA. There is widespread lack of accountability in the case of FIFA. There are a host of factors towards which, FIFA is accountable in one way or the other not only in the form of the chief organiser of the world cup but also as an important world body as it has its own sphere of activities, apart from managing football, which it continues to ignore (Verver, 2015).. It is an international organisation, which does not answer any country about its way of doing things. The Swiss government has not been very keen on investigating the activities of FIFA, until recently because of the pressure applied by the Department of Justice of the Government of the United States. The Swiss authorities have been stained with the reputation of being regarded as the safe havens for dumping illegal cash and black money and with intense media pressure and scrutiny, it wanted to shove off its image of being called a country which is responsible for illegal stacking of black money and keeping the money of organisations which are accused of forgery, money laundering and various other allegations (Deming, 2015). As a result of this intense media coverage towards this topic, the Swiss government has been under pressure to act and act fast, although the long term implications of these kinds of steps are yet unknown.
Lack of Transparency and Regulations
FIFA also suffers from lack of regulations and enforcement. FIFA is required to present its annual reports and financial statements in front of the Swiss Authorities, although such blatant forgery had escaped the eyes of the Swiss authorities. There are various theories in place where it has been proved that it is not in the interests of the Swiss government to look into the matters of any non-profit organisation. Despite all the release of the financial statements to the Swiss authorities, many of the fiscal decisions of FIFA remain undisclosed. All this in one way or the other impacts the global goodwill enjoyed by the game. FIFA has been very lackadaisical in its approach of maintaining the necessary law and order for ensuring the transparency of the working of the organisation.
There had been widespread criticism of the hosting of the 2018 world cup in Qatar, as it has some serious implications. The place boasts of an average temperature of 102 degrees, which was not beneficial for the players of the moderately cool countries such as Germany, Russia and many others, for this purpose it had been decided that the tournament would be played in the winter season of Qatar, in the months of November and December. This too has some serious repercussions; the hosting of the gala tournament in the winter months of would lead to the temporary suspension of the club football activities across various continents for these two months, leading to huge financial losses and many other financial implications of a large scale (Segal, 2015). Many human rights agencies both of international and national nature have criticised the hosting of the event in the country of Qatar, as it would have serious repercussions on the health of the workers who were entrusted with the job of building the number of stadiums for the tournament to take place.`
Many arrests have also been made in accordance with the working of the members of FIFA, as it had been seen that the members of the football powerhouse had been looking after their own interests instead of the interests of the game. On 27th May, as a result of this, seven senior FIFA officials had been arrested from the famous five star hotel of Zurich, the Baur au Lac hotel. This brought FFA into intense limelight, which has never happened before (Tomlinson, 2014). The Swiss police had acted jointly along with the FBI; the then FBI director Mr James Comey had described the defendants as having development of a kind of culture consisting of corruption and greed. Today the longest serving President of FIFA Mr Sepp Blatter, the Chief of UEFA, organiser of elite club football competitions across Europe and the former Secretary general are being banned for six years from any kind of football related activities. Thus, the name, fame and the respect commanded by the beautiful game has diminished due to the current state of happenings taking place.
Implication of Hosting World Cup in Qatar
According to Margaret Urban-Walker, moral repair includes the use of punishment in terms of the situation, which is looked into in a broader field of ways, for addressing the problem of wrongdoing, which in a way might replace the punishment or combine with it. It is the combination of the attitudes of the people along with a corrective course of action. It is a way of responding to the wrongs and not merely reacting to them. At the very base, it involves the working of two things, firstly fixation of responsibility and secondly they try to control the damage or the harm done in some restorative ways (Walker 2001). Faith is very important for the game and for restoring the faith of the people in this beautiful game is of paramount importance. Thus some concrete steps must be taken for the purpose of ensuring that the footballing power house comes back on its feet from the allegations of money laundering. Some of these concrete steps are as follows:
Reform from within: Moral repairing involves reforming from within, the same must be applied to FIFA. The case of one country one vote has some serious repercussions, where biasness have crept in. In these kinds of circumstances, it becomes increasingly mandatory to bring about the reforms which would clean the organisation from within. There have to be brought in much more transparency in the voting mechanisms of the members (Samuel, 2018). Voting of the members play a huge role in ensuring the working of the members in a proper fashion. In the same way, the voting and the bidding process of the host nations for the world cup must be ensured.
Multidisciplinary approach: Margaret Urban Walker, makes use of a multidisciplinary approach, for the purpose of addressing the problems of wrong doing, in the context of moral repair. Here it is specially seen if the process of addressing the wrong doings, involve transitional and restorative justice. It has been shown with the help of cases of political violence and as well as personal betrayal in the form of the case of South Africa’s truth and Reconciliation Commission and Toni Morrison’s novel ‘Jazz’ respectively. Similarly in the case of FIFA’s rampant corruption, restoration of the mutual dignity, respect and faith between FIFA and the general public and the governments of various countries is very important.
Good Governance: According to Schulenkorf & Frawley, (2016), transparency and accountability are the two pillars upon which good governance is ensured. It is good governance which ensures the proper running of any organisation. This accountability and transparency must be brought in the organisation of FIFA. In the recent years, particularly during the reign of disgraced FIFA President Mr Sepp Blatter, there has been wide scale corruption cases, ranging from rigging of votes in selecting host countries to taking bribes from various important figures in pursuit of selecting the stadiums and host nations for the world cups. In such kind of cases, proper governance must be ensured, which is only possible if the body becomes much more accountable for its actions in the international arena. Use of intelligence for keeping track of the activities is also a viable option, which would lead to less evasion from accountability and responsibilities. The interference of the Government of Switzerland is very essential and it must be looked after, not only in the times of crises, but at all the times. It is their job of ensuring the accountability of the World body.
FIFA has been entrusted with the job of protecting the integrity of this beautiful game and it must accept this responsibility and must do everything in its power to prevent any particular entity from maligning its name or the name of this game for the purpose of filling their own pockets and interests. Unless and until, the organisation mends its ways, nothing concrete can take place. Only when things are properly managed without any ulterior motives, can the image of the body be improved. Transparency in operations, maintaining accountability, regular publication of the accounts and the financial statements would help in ensuring true cleaning of the problems of corruption in one of the largest sporting bodies of the world.
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