Mateo Vazquez ’21
Due to the uncertain and ever-evolving circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the sports world has adapted in such a way that marks the first time multiple championship competitions and seasons will overlap in history. An immense number of sports seasons from hockey, to biking, to football, are all proceeding concurrently. You can practically turn on the television and watch any sport you want, at any time.
That being said, it can be hard to choose which relevant competitions to spend your time watching, as well as which issues within the sports world you should give your undivided attention to. A particularly interesting situation one may want to devote some attention to would be the evolving area of FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association, or International Federation of Association Football) funding anti-corruption agencies for sports competitions.
According to the Associated Press, FIFA President Gianni Infantino, speaking at a United Nations event in Austria, stated that the agency wanted to take more efforts to stop and prevent corruption from occurring within the sports realm and take positive action to correct these wrongs. This is a historic action given the corruption scandals in recent years that have plagued the competition circuit.
Most recently, former FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke had his position terminated in 2015 due to corruption within the Caribbean Football Union after the realization that multiple transactions totalling over $10 million had occured without authorization. It is no surprise that FIFA chose to take on these steps to end corruption, as this past weekend Valcke and many others involved in the corruption scandals were placed on trial in Switzerland. Even the former UEFA president Michel Platini stepped down from his position after a discovery of funds linked to unauthorized World Cup bidding.
Infantino’s serious approach to ending corruption is long overdue for the organization, and it will be interesting to see how the events unfold as they embark upon this journey to purify and improve the quality of the sport. Infantino stated that he would not allow for corruption within the industry to continue, stating, “Never again. Never again corruption in football.”
Another of the largest issues facing the FIFA organization currently is the vast number of leagues and subgroups within the organization that hamper its ability to organize and effectively resolve issues. This influx of leagues and subgroups makes it difficult for authorities to regulate their activities, leading to increased instances of corruption across teams nationwide. Another issue that Infantino alluded to was the lack of checks and balances within FIFA’s organizational structure, along with the possible use of special task forces that allow for more accountability within the actual administrative structure. This approach as a whole is quite interesting in that FIFA is fully acknowledging and attacking the issue head on, dedicating a large portion of their funds and efforts to preventing corruption.
While FIFA has attempted to address these issues, past administrations have been slow-going and halfhearted in their approach to the issues, and so it remains to be seen whether or not this current effort will succeed in improving fairness. However, the current administration, along with Infantino, have made it clear that they intend to attack the issue head on and prioritize it as an area of focus for 2020-2021, and they will likely restructure a lot of what we currently know about FIFA.