The World’s Footballing body, FIFA, appears to be falling apart at the seams. In a mere matter of weeks, FIFA has seen about as much controversy as is physically possible. The FBI have launched an investigation into virtually every high-ranking member of FIFA, Sepp Blatter has been dubiously re-elected and then resigned within just a few days, and full re-investigations into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids have been launched, all whilst the likes of Jack Warner and Sepp Blatter point fingers at one another and claim that FIFA will all be ‘fine’. Sadly, however, this appears to be the unravelling of what is likely found of decades of FIFA corruption. As Jack Warner aptly put it earlier this week there is an ‘avalanche’ of information and secrets to come.
The reaction to the recent FIFA scandals has been mixed. Many are delighted that Sepp Blatter has been finally taken off of his throne, with the likes of BBC’s Gary Lineker openly expressing via twitter his delight at the resignation and called for a re-vote on the World Cup bids:
Blatter has resigned. Can't quite believe it. FIFA always appeared to be such a fine upstanding organisation.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 2, 2015
To anyone new to the FIFA scandal and the career of Sepp Blatter, here are a few things that have happened since he took up his first post at FIFA: the founding of Apple computers, punk rock, the birth of current world footballer of the year Cristiano Ronaldo, the Space Shuttle and the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Blatter’s dictatorship appeared to be a monopoly immune to scandal, logic and precedent. Blatter did not just control the most popular sport in the world. As befits the boy who reportedly possessed the only professional-quality ball at his primary school, he acted as if he owned football itself. However, just in case you need proof of this corruption, feel free to read Wessex Scene’s previous article on the FIFA elections which contains some of the most controversial and outrageous statements you are likely to hear here.
However, whilst many are delighted particularly that Blatter has resigned and the corruption of FIFA has finally been exposed, there are more questions than answers that have appeared following the start of this unravelling. For example, what will happen with regards to the 2018 and 2022 World Cup? Who will be the next FIFA president? Will FIFA need to dissolve or just needs reforms?
Many of these questions will not be answered until the final outcome of the FBI’s investigation, however, England has emerged as a strong contender for the World Cup should the 2018 World Cup be re-opened for voting as it narrowly missed out on the vote when it was awarded to Russia. England would be ready to host it immediately due to the number of large stadiums England possesses and the infrastructure in place left over from the 2012 Olympics. With regards to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar however, this stretches on to potentially thin moral ground. With huge number of migrant workers who have lost their lives due to the construction of stadiums in Qatar, a debate has opened up in recent weeks as to whether the World Cup should be taken from Qatar if it’s bid contained corruption or whether to keep it there so those workers have not died in vain. This is a particularly difficult debate to tackle.
With regards to the next FIFA president, a new vote will take place in December of this year with a number of candidates being recommended such as Brazilian legend Zico and the current chairman of the FA, Greg Dyke. Although it remains unclear as to who exactly will take over the role from Sepp Blatter, what is clear is that whoever becomes the new President of FIFA will have a monumental task on their hands: to clean up the world of football and restore some level of credibility of FIFA in what essentially has become a poisoned and mistrusted role due to the actions of Blatter.
The final question at hand, the future of FIFA, is a much more complex and difficult issue. FIFA arguably is too large to be simply dissolved and then reborn. It must be remembered that this is an organisation which represents arguably the world’s global sport and is one that stretches into virtually every nation. However, by taking some crucial but basic steps it can begin to gradually restore some level of credibility. For example, appointing a respected and credible leader will arguably act as FIFA’s main beacon to restoring the publics faith. Many key Blatter supporting FIFA officials have been unceremoniously led away from their homes to face corruption charges from the US.
This should pave way for a new leader, who is untainted by the crippling culture created by the Blatter leadership. UEFA President Michel Platini and Prince Ali of Jordan are the favourites. Both men are likely to bring a revamp to FIFA politics and fresh ideas; but the selection of the successor must be through a transparent process. In addition, although damaging in the short-term for FIFA, the outcome of the FBI’s investigations will provide a clean slate and a level of transparency from which FIFA can launch it’s rebrand. Finally, a revamp of FIFA’s rules in all areas, from it’s bidding rules right up to the way it elects its presidents will provide a fresh start for FIFA. Ultimately, the organisation needs to drastically shake up its rules and policies and move as far away from the Blatter era as possible. Every aspect of FIFA needs to be made transparent and open to the public eye.
— Joseph S Blatter (@SeppBlatter) June 4, 2015
It will take a long, long, time for FIFA to regain it’s credibility the public’s trust, however, if done in the right way, with the appointment of the right people and policies it will certainly be able to do so and in the long-term will certainly be nothing but beneficial to the game of football. In the short-term though, Jack Warner’s prediction of an ‘avalanche’ of scandal still to come looks about right. So buckle your seat-belts and prepare for the tidal wave of uncovered scandals and outraged media reports that is certainly on its way.