Monday, May 27, 2013

Sunil Gulati Should Prepare for More Scrutiny

At Grantland, Noah Davis (@Noah Davis) asks, Can Sunil Gulati Reform FIFA? Davis writes rather gently:
The ExCo is a group massively in need of cleaning up. Since October 2010, more than 10 of its members have been accused of some type of corruption. Gulati is saying all the right things, including expressing his desire for FIFA to disclose the notoriously secret compensation of its directors. But the question is how much impact the American can have. I asked Grant Wahl, Sports Illustrated’s soccer writer who drew attention to corruption within FIFA with his 2011 presidential campaign, for his thoughts.

"Sunil clearly chose to work within the system. That's why he's on the reform committee. He's chosen that instead of publicly shaming FIFA for a lot of the corruption that has happened over the years and has taken down so many of the members of the Executive Committee," he said. "Sunil could have abstained from voting for Sepp Blatter in 2011 just as England did, but he chose not to. He chose to vote with Blatter, and I think Blatter repaid that by putting Sunil in a very good position."

While Gulati's desire to reform FIFA appears genuine, it's simply not possible to fix all that ails the organization while Blatter, the man who has been in charge since 1998, remains on top.
 In contrast, Davis quotes Andrew Jennings being not so gentle:
Andrew Jennings, a Scottish investigative reporter and one of the leading figures in tracking FIFA corruption, has further concerns about the USSF president. In a long post, he outlines how Blazer and former CONCACAF president Jack Warner defrauded Australia and other nations, and argues that Gulati, the Columbia economist, should have been able to see evidence of the fraud while looking at the confederation’s balance sheets. Jennings, who has an air of conspiracy theorist about him but boasts an impressive background in investigating FIFA, has a point.

He also raises another good question about Gulati's statement that he would reveal compensation only if allowed to do so by FIFA's laws: "[Why can't] Little Sunil say to FIFA, 'Listen you jerks, I've been elected from my continental region and I'm going to tell them how much I'm making'?" (Later in our conversation, the outspoken and outraged Jennings added, "Who the fuck are these toe rags in Switzerland to tell a proud American what information he can give to the American people?")
Gulati should be prepared for much more scrutiny that he has received in the past - of both the gentle and not-so-gentle varieties.


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