Today Sepp Blatter was elected to serve a fourth term as the head of soccer’s governing body FIFA. Since being elected as president of FIFA in 1998 Blatter’s reign has been tainted by numerous criticisms and allegations ranging from incompetence to outright corruption. His latest election was held just days after announcing his only opposition Mohamed Bin Hammam was being suspended along with CONCACAF President Jack Warner following allegations that the duo had been conspiring to buy votes for the election. The election also took place after direct request from the English delegation that requested the election be delayed so a reform candidate may be chosen to oppose Blatter.
Before Blatter was elected, FIFA announced today that it would be looking to expand the voting for future World Cup bids to all 208 members of its Congress as opposed to the system of a 24 member executive committee that recently decided the locations of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. This change comes after members of the executive committee were removed during the selection process after attempting to solicit bribes.
In the days prior to the election, several of the World Cup’s largest sponsors, Visa, Coca-Cola, and Adidas have expressed their concern over the bribery charges as well as FIFA’s actions concerning the charges. These sponsors expressing their concern for FIFA in the wake of these allegations draws more negative attention to the organization where it appears corruption runs rampant. Despite Blatter’s constant pledges to clean up the game, more scandal arises monthly to dispel any notion that true reform is on the way for FIFA.
Sepp Blatter is the head of an organization in which bribery and cronyism run rampant. The reforms that Blatter has made to the game have not benefited it on a wide scale and on the issues such as video review and the use of goal line technology, Blatter has repeatedly fumbled and faltered. Throughout all of this, Blatter continues to preach the values of the game and the necessity to clean out corruption, yet has done nothing to combat it aside from appointing a new internal committee to monitor such activities.
If Blatter were the leader of the footballing nation of FIFA, it would be a nation in dire need of reforms. The government officials would be growing rich off their payoffs (or selling tickets on the black market in Jack Warner’s case), while the vast majority of the population remained poor and undeveloped. If a crime was being committed yet went unnoticed to officials, no video evidence could be used to right the situation and the crime would go unpunished. Also the government contracts would go to the contractor who paid the most to the officials, not the contractor who would do the best job and show the glory of the game that we all love.
FIFA is in desperate need of changes and Sepp Blatter is not a man capable or willing to make those changes. It is time that we take an example from our brothers in the Middle East and revolt against this corrupt institution.