Posts Tagged ‘Sepp Blatter’

The Fight to Clean Up Football

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

We can do something about the corruption in football.   The first thing is to ensure that there are effective well-staffed and well-resourced security departments in not just UEFA, but also at FIFA and in every National Football Association around the world.  As readers of my book will know, that there are gangs of Asian match-fixers who have been visiting almost every international tournament for the last 17 years.  They have approached players at the Under-17 World Cup, the Africa Nations Cup, the Women’s World Cup, the Olympic Games and the World Cup.   Generally, officials and disinterested fans have two responses to this information: one, deny it (see FIFA) or two claim “there is nothing we can do about it, corruption is always there.”  Both of these attitudes are wrong: there are things that can be done to combat corruption in football.

The first measure is the implementation of independent, well-staffed and well-resourced security departments.  There are similar bodies in all the North American sports leagues like the NFL, NBA or NHL.   There is no reason why football should not have security departments.  The establishment of these security bodies instantly dismisses the second argument.   Look, the critics are right there is crime in every society, but that is why you have police – to fight corruption.   At the moment, football simply does not have any form of official protection.

The second measure is to actually have a specific and independent investigation of the findings in the book.   Most of the criticism of the book has been nonsense designed to deflect viewer’s attention away from the real issues.  Sepp Blatter, the President of FIFA, told me that he did not believe the findings, but if they were true it would mean that his entire career had been a failure.   This means that man cannot task a police investigation, it is a conflict of interest.  Who, after all, would want a investigation to find out they had been a failure?   However, the game still needs an investigation to dig into the what is actually going at many of these tournaments.  FIFA can ask for an independent police investigation and then simply see what course it takes.

Finally, the players who play in these big international tournaments need to be guaranteed a fair wage for doing so.   It seems incredible that at these massive world events with so much public interest, so much sponsorship and so much money paid for the television rights that we still had cases in the 2006 World Cup of teams like Trinidad and Tobago whose players received only $500 for their image rights at the tournament or the Togo players who had to go on strike to get a fair wage. Neither of these teams was ever suspected of fixing a game, but by not establishing a proper and open reward system, FIFA is opening the way towards other disgruntled players accepting bribes.    Again, it is a pretty simple problem to solve just pay all players a set, and large, amount directly into their bank accounts.  Temptation reduced.

If you would like to support these simple, but important changes please go to the Save Our Game section of the website and sign the petition.