FIFA – When Reality Strikes Back

Just last week, we covered the FIFA presidency candidacy withdrawal of Luis Figo and Michael van Praag. It is hard to argue with reality and the same applies to an organisation as large as FIFA. One of the biggest issues with FIFA is the simple fact that it is an organisation and as such, it has interests similar to those of corporations, where politics play a rather significant role. Put simply, if one aims to get far within a corporation, merit might not be as effective as the ability to outplay and outthink internal rivals.

Arguably, the likes of Sepp Blatter have some great political skills; they can navigate their way through an organisation, a corporation. In recent years, whistleblowers from all corners of the world have shed some light on the politics of large corporations and the shady dealings they are involved in. Companies such as BP have managed to cover up more than one can imagine in the past few years and the negative headlines are probably only the tip of the iceberg. What this implies in reference to FIFA is that not many have the privilege of knowing about the happenings behind closed curtains, where politics clearly overrule football.

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It comes as no surprise then that FIFA have failed to act as an enabler to football, but have instead taken the front seat in a world that should be driven by the own dynamics of the sport. In all of this, what is even more astonishing is the role of national football associations. One of the first things that springs to mind would be a boycott of FIFA-driven activity, although the cowardly attitude of these associations suggests that all they will be doing is issuing the odd critical statement before turning their backs on reality.

It seems as though, money has made some significant moves into football and intends to stay there. It is not just international football and the likes of world cups that are affected by finance, but so too are clubs and club football in general. If one looks at the example of FC Barcelona for instance, money-related changes are similarly easy to spot. The club had always claimed to not sell any shirt sponsorship for the sake of keeping in line with its traditions. When money knocked on the door harder than ever, they were happy to part with tradition, in order to be able to finance their conspicuous purchases, and they are currently sponsored by Qatar Airways, another company that was arguably financed by oil money.

The bottom line is that football and a clear conscience have been separated for several years. In other words, moral has left the game a while ago, not just recently. As a result, FIFA’s current state is a reflection of the level of corruption that runs through the beautiful game of football, across the board. To use the earlier idiom, this is just the tip of the iceberg and it will be forgotten as quickly as the CIA have picked up from where they left off, after the Snowden affair. In that sense, let us look forward to a meaningless election that will be won by Sepp Blatter yet again because simply put, he is a very talented politician. On the other hand, the recent development at FIFA may finally motivate national associations to break away and create an alternative.