For FIFA’s sake…

I quite enjoyed the BBC Panorama documentary last night detailing corruption and fraud within football’s international governing body, FIFA. FIFA behaved consistently as if they do not need to respond to any of the fraud allegations, but we are talking about hundreds of millions of dollars that should have been used for the development of the game, all ending up in the back pocket of FIFA board members. The BBC presented a number of new facts that proved illicit payments to at least three FIFA board members.

However, the argument in the UK media is that the BBC is unpatriotic to expose these people just a few days before the vote for which nation will host the 2018 World Cup. We are relying on these same people to vote for the England bid just as the BBC accuses them of fraud.

But the BBC is not the voice of the State. I would love to see England get the World Cup in 2018, but if the BBC affects the impression of England and a bunch of FIFA crooks don’t vote for our country because they don’t like to see their dirty laundry aired in public then doesn’t it demonstrate some much greater British values, not least about the freedom of the press?

Would anyone really want to see a situation where the BBC had evidence detailing how many bribes these FIFA officials have taken, but they kept quiet to ensure those same people voted for England?

Whether we win or lose this bid to host the 2018 World Cup, it’s time for the English FA to join forces with other national football associations and to demand that FIFA is entirely reformed… it should be an open, transparent, not-for-profit association developing football across the world, not a shady cabal of villains all earning millions by having their votes bought.

Boot on the other foot

4 responses to “For FIFA’s sake…

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention For FIFA’s sake… | mark kobayashi-hillary --

  2. Mark, unlike you I’d welcome England being unsuccessful in its bid for the 2018 World Cup. So, maybe not unsurprisingly, I agree with your views on the importance of the freedom of the press; integrity should always trump expediency.

    However, it’s still worth questioning the timing of the programme. I’m unsure why the BBC decided to air it last night as opposed to say a week ago but am assuming has something to do with the World Cup vote being more front-of-mind this week than last. Arguably then, assuming the timing is in some way based on ratings, the BBC’s decision on when to air the programme is as cynical as if it had chosen to show it after the vote.

    • Hi Nick, in terms of finance I think it would be a loss-leader… I think the world cup would cost money to stage rather than bringing in billions, rather like the Olympic games… but even so it would be great to see a World Cup in England in my lifetime…

  3. I hear the IOC is concerned, which sounds like Stalin calling out Hitler on his human rights record. As usual, they don’t care whether anyone is corrupt; all that matters is that nobody finds out about it.
    Prince Andrew is in the news today for reportedly taking the same stance on bent arms deals, and let’s not forget the Catholic church response to abuse allegations or Obama’s response to revelations in the English courts about torture under his predecessor.
    If we all just chant, “The Greater Good, the Greater Good,” everything will be OK.

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