Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The (Mostly) Non-News of FIFA's Watered Down Governance Report

Earlier this week Der Spiegel reported that FIFA's "independent" reform committee had submitted a draft of its final report to FIFA, and made subsequent changes at FIFA's request. Someone apparently leaked internal FIFA emails.

As readers of this blog will appreciate, the news is really not news.

We have known for a while that the FIFA IGC (reform committee) was not independent and that its report was watered down (see this summary and full analysis in PDF). We also know that the FIFA IGC chair, Professor Mark Pieth, has faced a wide range of challenges dealing with FIFA, and has not always come away from the experience in the best light (just search this blog for "Pieth").

If there is little new here, the fact that this information has been leaked is itself interesting. Either the internal emails were leaked by Pieth or someone within inside FIFA's "football family." If the former then Pieth once again comes away the worse off, as FIFA's effusive defense of him (via this press release) simply provides more evidence of how conflicted his role of IGC chair actually was -- FIFA actually wrote: " People should stop questioning the independence of such a credible character." Ouch!

If the leaker is another FIFA insider, then it would speak to an internal split over the organization's leadership. However, were I to guess, I'd say that the leak most probably comes from Pieth. Any insider wanting to embarrass Sepp Blatter and also with access to confidential FIFA emails surely has to have better material than this weak tea.

Either way, the leak tells us nothing that we didn't already know: Sepp Blatter is well on his way to captaining FIFA to another term.


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