International sports, particularly football, is facing an unprecedented wave of corruption and match-fixing. At the same time, we have witnessed FIFA executive after FIFA executive being tarnished with corruption. So what can you as an ordinary football fan do to save the sport?
First, please do not bother with the carefully-worded petitions to sports officials. Please do not bother with the appeals to the media. Please do not bother with campaigns for politicians.
The sports officials will ignore your petitions. The journalists will write, if you are lucky, brief articles about your appeal and then go back to their usual reports of tactics, athletes’ hamstrings or morale ‘before the big game’. The politicians largely cannot change anything in the sports world, so will be unable to help you.
However, there is one, effective way of cleaning up international sports. A world-wide boycott of sponsors who tolerate corruption in sports organizations.
In brief, if you want to clean up international football, then buy Puma.
I want to be clear, I have nothing against Adidas. They are a reputable company that makes very good sports clothes and shoes. However, FIFA as it is currently constituted is an organization sponsored and supported by Adidas. Adidas and Puma loathe each other. They have done so since the founding Dassler brothers, both living in a small German town after the second world war, had a bitter argument. The personal feud has dimmed in recent years, but Adidas and Puma are still intense competitive rivals – so write to Adidas and say something like:
I like your products. I would like to buy them. However, I will not do so while you support FIFA as it is currently managed. I will buy Puma, your rivals. I will continue to do so until FIFA implements [rather than talking about] some effective anti-corruption reforms. Then I will consider buying your excellent products.
Repeat this procedure for every single major sponsor of sports organizations. For example, Coca Cola supports both FIFA and the Turkish Football Federation, write to them and tell them that, reluctantly, you will buy only Pepsi. Do two things, make sure that the executives realize that you are not blaming them or their products and secondly, organize a proper and effective boycott. Get your friends to do it, use social media, write to the dozens of organizations that are trying to clean-up international sports. If one-hundred-thousand people can back Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl to run as President of FIFA, then one-hundred-thousand people saying they will buy Puma, drink Pepsi and not fly with the Emirates will have a massive effect.
International sport is facing an unprecedented wave of corruption. It needs people to stand up and fight for it. Will you be someone who sits on the sidelines and complains, or will you stand up to defend the sport that we all love?