FIFA: Changes needed as internal strife continues
The ongoing story regarding allegations of corruption at the very heart of world football’s governing body FIFA seems to have taken the game to an all-time low. Surely the only way for these allegations to be addressed is for an independent body to look at the crux of the matter and investigate every figure who is alleged to have been involved. With more questions than answers in a case which won’t go away the last thing that FIFA and its president Sepp Blatter should do is to bury their heads in the sand.
Even by the standards of the FIFA scandal there have been some very interesting developments in the last 24 hours. Mohamed Bin Hammam, head of the Asian Football Confederation and FIFA presidential candidate, announced on his personal website that he was officially withdrawing his candidacy, thus giving the current holder of the post Sepp Blatter free reign to win a fourth straight term of office unopposed. This, he explained, would allow him the opportunity to clear his name and he explained that he felt saddened at the state of events because he “cannot allow the name [i.e. FIFA] that I loved to be dragged more and more in the mud because of competition between two individuals.”
Then on Sunday afternoon came the news that both Bin Hammam and Jack Warner, the Vice-President of FIFA who is also at the centre of the allegation claims made by CONCACAF general secretary Chuck Blazer, have been suspended by the FIFA’s ethics committee who, despite protestations from Bin Hammam and Warner, also stated that “no investigation against Blatter is warranted”. Despite this it is arguably the case that the presidential election, which is to take place this coming Wednesday at FIFA’s 61st Annual Congress in Zurich, ought to be postponed in order to allow further examination of all claims made against each and every figure who has had allegations made against them. Even if it was to be concluded that very little, or indeed no, corruption ever took place the perception of FIFA amongst football fans around the world is the lowest that its ever been with high profile bureaucrats often accused of selling the game’s soul in exchange for huge financial incentives. A shake-up of FIFA from top to bottom and a review of its leadership structure is the very minimum that the organisation needs in order to restore public confidence at the game’s top body.