Thursday, August 25, 2011

So Now You Think FIFA Governance is Flawed?

In my graduate seminar earlier this week I presented my students an example of how decision rules -- even very simple ones, such as a city council election -- can be construed in different ways (all legitimate) that when employed lead to different outcomes (such as a different winner of the election).  The plasticity of decision rules means that debates about mechanisms of governance cannot easily be separated from preferences for particular outcomes associated with different versions of those rules. In general then, it is typically preferable to address issues of governance independent of particular disputes that hinge on the choice of governance mechanisms.

This is an academic way to lead into the lesson just learned by Mohammad Bin Hammam, who has recently been given a lifetime ban from football by FIFA.  Bin Hammam, who to my knowledge has never before expressed reservations about FIFA's governance mechanisms, now finds those mechanisms to be substantially flawed:
On Thursday, 18 August 2011, FIFA issued the motivated decisions of the Ethics Committee almost a month after the Ethics Committee decided to ban me for life.

Since then, I have submitted my case to the FIFA Appeals Committee, not hoping for justice to prevail but as a protocol to enable me to obtain access to the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS).

After all, the panel from the Appeals Committee is decided by my opponent and in this case, as previously, the judge is the rival. Therefore, I should not exaggerate my hope for a fair decision.

Going through the motivated decisions, we found them to be deeply flawed and raises grave doubts on whether any decision-making body of FIFA has sufficient independence to ensure a fair decision based solely on evidences and applicable laws.
Of course, he is right, FIFA's governance policies are deeply flawed.  But this is a difficult issue to press when the issue that he is concerned with is Bin Hammam and not FIFA.


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