INDEPENDENT REFORM IS THE ONLY WAY TO RESCUE FIFA
As FIFA’s executive committee meets to discuss fresh elections for FIFA’s president, leading campaign groups have come together to call for independent reform of FIFA.
Transparency International, Avaaz and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) have joined forces with the #NewFIFANow campaign advocating for time-limited independent reform of FIFA led by an eminent person.
This follows a resolution from the European Parliament last week that condemned the “systemic and despicable corruption” within FIFA and also called for an independent FIFA Reform Commission.
Transparency International has said that FIFA must have far reaching reforms if it is to clean out the “culture of corruption” that has engulfed the organisation.
Cobus de Swardt, TI Managing Director, said: “FIFA has been shown the red card many times, yet it has failed to reform. It is a flawed democracy far removed from the fans that support the game. Corruption in sport is not a game. There are victims and there is criminal behaviour.”
“There has to be an independent reform commission and FIFA has to change. No more false dawns, no more scandals, no more dawn raids. FIFA has a debt to the fans and players to change now.”
The role of the FIFA Reform Commission would be to review, develop and implement FIFA’s Constitution, Statutes and Codes, new governance arrangements, membership and terms of reference and to conduct fresh elections.
A spokesperson on behalf of the global citizens’ movement, Avaaz, agreed that only independent reform will satisfy fans around the world that it has reformed.
“Sepp Blatter only agreed to resign because of FBI raids, and it’ll take more tough external scrutiny to overhaul how FIFA is run. Believing that FIFA could clean up its own mess is as naïve as thinking that my son’s school football team could beat Barcelona,” said Alex Wilks, Avaaz Campaign Director.
The General Secretary of the ITUC says that the issues which are of concern to ITUC and its members, such as the rights of migrant workers in Qatar, are part of the ‘bigger picture’ of FIFA reform.
“We said two months ago that it was hypocritical of FIFA’s sponsors to give large sums of money to an unaccountable organisation when, in turn, it makes decisions to award the world’s biggest sporting event to a country that institutionalises slavery through the kafala system,” Sharan Burrow said.
“Let’s be clear, our mission is not to take away the World Cup from Qatar if the government legislates and implements workers’ rights. We call on sponsors to end the hypocrisy of supporting FIFA when it makes decisions directly contrary to their corporate values.”
Burrow said ITUC wants to see FIFA use its influence to demand positive change in Qatar.
“That way everyone benefits – but especially the workers who are building the infrastructure and facilities for the 2022 World Cup under draconian and outdated labour laws that have no part in a 21st century economy.”
Co-founder of #NewFIFANow, Jaimie Fuller, said that almost every day there is more news about the ‘living scandal that is FIFA’.
“We all looked on unsurprised when 14 arrests were made by US authorities at the end of May. Only last week, we learned that the Swiss Government’s investigation into money laundering involving the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids has increased from 53 to 81 cases.
“The FIFA President declined to travel to the Women’s World Cup in Canada, the Gold Cup in the United States or to a US Senate hearing last week, but is reportedly travelling to Russia later this week. We can all speculate as to why he is so selective about the countries he visits.
“I ask FIFA’s sponsors again: when is enough enough? When will you consider your brand’s association with FIFA and its impact on your reputation and values? At what point do you think you have a responsibility to the consumers of your products – the ones who play the game and watch the game – beyond a sale statistic?” Fuller said.
The four organisations urged fans and players to keep up the demand for reform by continuing to contact sponsors, football associations and their governments all of whom have a role in making independent reform a reality. Contact details for the eight major sponsors and the 209 football associations can be found at www.newfifanow.org.
“All of us who love football, deserve better,” added Alex Wilks, Campaign Director. “Let’s fix FIFA.”
A copy of the Transparency International’s “Give Back The Game – How to Fix FIFA” will be released 15 July at midnight, London time on www.transparency.org. Click here for the #NewFIFANow Charter for Change and Guiding Principles.