Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A FIFA Insider Speaks Out

The NYT reports on a new book by Chung Mong-joon, a former FIFA Vice-President:
In “FIFA, More Political than Football,” a 3,000-word passage in a memoir published by Chung Mong-joon, the former FIFA vice president breaks that inner code of silence.

Chung, a billionaire shipping magnate, part of the Hyundai family and a senior member of the South Korean National Assembly, makes it very clear that he would sooner run for president in his homeland than for any FIFA office.

His book, released Tuesday in South Korea, refers to Blatter as “an articulate and intelligent man, but more like an impetuous child than a gentleman.”

More than that, Chung writes: “The executive committee is meant to provide checks and balances when its president goes beyond his authority and mandate. Blatter is trying to take away the power of the executive committee and thereby neutralize any efforts to check his power.”

He adds: “A lot of dictators on this planet have used similar methods.”
The NYT  repeats this fine quote from Henry Kissinger:
But long ago, while leading an American bid to stage the 1986 World Cup, Kissinger, the secretary of state under Richard M. Nixon and Gerald Ford, was reported to have said: “The politics of FIFA, they make me nostalgic for the Middle East.”
Chung expresses regret that he dd not press harder while a part of FIFA:
He now regrets that he did not do more, fearing that other members regarded him as being too persistent in questioning their leader.

“I am currently an honorary vice president of FIFA,” Chung concludes. “I am quite disappointed that FIFA is not run in a transparent and fair manner. I look back to see whether I had done my part.”
Meantime, the European Club Association, perhaps trying to lead by example, has focused its attention on improving its own governance:
Also addressing the issue of Governance was Ivo Belet, Member of the European Parliament. In his speech to the General Assembly, he highlighted the EU's demands that sporting governing structures meet the highest standards of 21st century democracy as they would in any other sector. The European Parliament is expected to adopt a report on the future of Sports by the end of 2011, which will, among other things, look into the issue of governance.

ECA Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge summed up the club's position on Governance by stating: "We believe that now is the time for proper reforms to the governance structures of international football. These reforms should ensure that all stakeholders including clubs occupy a position within the decision-making bodies which reflects their contribution to the game. Ultimately, these changes will reduce conflict allowing for the sustainable and long-term development of the game at all levels."
FIFA's future will be interesting to watch.


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