Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Analysis: A Report Card on FIFA Reform

Over at Play the Game I have a new analysis up focused on a (somewhat) objective evaluation of the FIFA reform process. Here is how it begins:
Last month at the FIFA Congress in Mauritius FIFA President Sepp Blatter declared that the governance reform process that he had initiated two years earlier had come to a close, "We have been through a difficult time. It has been a test for football and those who lead it. As your captain, I can say we have weathered the storm." 

Mark Pieth, a professor at the Basel Institute of Governance and the man hand-picked by Blatter to lead the FIFA Independent Governance Committee to advise the reform process, said of the two-year effort, “In a relatively short space of time, it's quite spectacular so far what has been achieved.” FIFA announced that the process had been a resounding success: “the majority of the reform recommendations by the IGC were implemented.”

Such comments are difficult to reconcile with the perspectives of other close observers. One member of the FIFA IGC, Alexandra Wrage, a governance expert and president of TRACE International, resigned from the committee just over a month before the Congress in Mauritius, explaining, “It’s been the least productive project I’ve ever been involved in. There’s no doubt about that.”

Following the Congress, Guido Tognoni, former FIFA Secretary General, told a Swiss television station that, “Mark Pieth has good intentions but to me he’s like Sepp Blatter’s poodle. He must bark loud but he’s not allowed to bite. He had a promising approach but, of course, he’s banging his head against a block of granite.”

With such claims and counter-claims flying about, colored by interests and personalities, it can be very difficult to get a sense of what was actually accomplished in the FIFA reform process. In order to provide a somewhat more objective basis for evaluating the process, I have undertaken a formal evaluation, with a first look at the results presented here.
To see how the evaluation comes out, both for FIFA and for its IGC, head over here. Comments welcomed here or by email, as this is a work in progress.


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