Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Transparency International on FIFA Reform

Transparency International explains that the good feelings toward FIFA emanating from Germany this summer, due to the Women's World Cup, don't counter the issues of governance that the organization faces.  Here is a lengthy excerpt:
It is clearly time for FIFA to leave the old ways of doing business – the “old boys network”, “behind closed doors solutions” and keeping problems “in the family” – in the past, and join other organizations in modernizing their governance.

There are already examples of anti-bribery codes in the world of business: take the OECD Recommendations on Good Practice, Internal Controls, Ethics, and Compliance or the Business Principles for Countering Bribery, a TI-led initiative with a wide range of recommended good practice.
  • clear rules on how to deal with allegations of corruption;
  • institution-wide zero tolerance for corruption;
  • an empowered ombudsman;
  • a review of the existing code of ethics including the competences of the ethics committee;
  • compliance clauses for all contracts, for FIFA’s financial support for member federations etc.;
  • review of the tender and awarding procedure of events as well as TV-rights and sponsorship contracts;
  • clear reporting and accounting rules.
Around the same time that FIFA was selecting Russia and Qatar to host the World Cups of 2018 and 2022, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was calling on business leaders worldwide to denounce corruption and to back their words with strict prohibitions against it, by adopting anti-corruption policies. FIFA should hold itself to the same standard.

Good governance has to start at the top – even all the attempts of FIFA to fight match-fixing will be wasted if the leadership in football all over the world does not adhere to ethical standards thus setting an example of integrity for those who are in danger of being involved in match-fixing, especially players and referees.

Unlike companies, FIFA has no external directors, shareholders, supervisory boards or stakeholder processes applying direct external influence. Pressure for change may therefore need to come from fans, national federations, professional clubs, sponsors, governments, the media and civil society.
I have drafted a paper on holding FIFA accountability that I will share soon.  It turns out that actually holding FIFA accountable is not so easy.


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