Friday, January 27, 2012

Unpublished Letter to the Financial Times

I send the letter below to the Financial Times, but it didn't make the cut, so I am sharing it here. It is a response to Mark Pieth's op-ed in the FT last week.

Mark Pieth, chairman of FIFA's Independent Governance Committee, is no doubt correct when he writes (FIFA must show a red card to corruption, January 19) that sporting organizations, "should give themselves anti-corruption compliance programmes and conflict of interest policies comparable to corporations." However, his advice is undercut by the fact that under such policies, it is highly likely that he and half or more members of the FIFA committee would be judged to have a conflict of interest due to financial or subsidiary relationships with FIFA. In Pieth's case, it has been reported in the Swiss media that he was paid more than $125,000 to draft a short report for FIFA prior to being appointed as chair of the committee. Such blatant and undisclosed conflicts of interest among the FIFA committee members were one factor cited by the international anti-corruption agency Transparency International when they recently terminated their participation in the FIFA reform process. TI must have recognized that their good name was at risk had they continued to participate in processes in which FIFA thumbed its nose at basic standards of good governance. FIFA's committee deserves to be heard, but they have started their work with a deficit of credibility.

Roger Pielke, Jr., Professor
University of Colorado


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