Wednesday, October 30, 2013

My PTG 2013 Presentation on FIFA Reform

Here in PDF my slides from this mornings talk on FIFA reform at Play the Game 2013.

Comments welcomed!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pound/WADA Report on Doping

Richard Pound won the 2013 Play the Game award in Aarhus last night -- and well deserved. He gave an interesting talk on the recent WADA report on doping which he led and delivered to its executive committee earlier this year.

That report can be found here in PDF.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Play the Game Previews FIFA Debate

On Wednesday morning 30 October in Aarhus, Play the Game has organized a session on the FIFA reform process in which I am participating.  Here is the PTG preview of the session:
FIFA speech for the first time in Play the Game history

In fact, one of the international federations has decided to engage for the first time in a Play the Game debate: after rejecting invitations from all seven previous Play the Game conferences since 1997, FIFA now sends its communications director Walter de Gregorio to a debate about the FIFA reform process.

This debate takes place Wednesday 30th October in the morning and will be no walk-over for de Gregorio who will outline FIFA’s progress in a debate with two leading governance experts. One is no less than the chairperson of FIFA’s own Independent Governance Committee, the Swiss professor Mark Pieth, who recently announced his departure from this position at the end of the year, hinting that FIFA is not really willing to make thorough reform.

Another opponent is even more skeptical: the American professor Roger Pielke has seriously questioned the results of the reform process in articles on Play the Game’s website, and in Aarhus Pielke will put forward the documentation behind his analysis.
On Wednesday I'll post up here at The Least Thing my slides which are part of my talk. For my part, I am taking an attitude toward the session recommended by ... Sepp Blatter:
“Just like football, debate has this awesome power to bring people together.  Debate opens our minds to new worlds. It challenges our prejudices. It inspires.  Just like football, debate has the power to break down barriers.  It makes us better people and it makes the world a better place. “

Sepp Blatter, FIFA President
25 October 2013
Oxford Union
The relative accomplishments of the FIFA reform effort are rather unambiguous, as I'll document in my talk (and which has been presented on the PTG website). People can of course agree to disagree about the significance of FIFA's reforms to date. My conclusions is that some significant actions were indeed taken, but there remains many more yet to be done.

I hope that our discussion focuses not so much on the recent (or distant) past, but rather, where efforts for reform go next.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Coming Next Week: Blogging and Tweeting from #PTG2013

Next week I'll be in Aarhus, Denmark where I'll be attending the 2013 Play the Game conference. The latest agenda can be found here in PDF. The agenda reveals an embarrassment of riches. As I did in 2011 I'll be active on social media from the conference, blogging here at The Least Thing and tweeting as well -- @RogerPielkeJr. The conference hash tag is #PTG2013.

Next Wednesday at the conference I'll be speaking in a plenary session titled: FIFA Reforms -- fact or phantom? That session will also include Mark Pieth, former chair of the FIFA Independent Governance Committee, Walter DeGregario, FIFA spokesman, and possibly other surprises yet to be named. That should be fun!

If you have questions, comments or requests, just send them to me via email or Twitter. It will be a great week.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Governance of Sport - My Spring 2014 Syllabus

I have just finished up a ready-for-viewing version of my syllabus for my brand-new Spring 2014 course -- University of Colorado-Boulder: ETHN 3104, The Governance of Sport.

Here is the course description:
Overview and Purpose of the Course

The goal of this course is to introduce students to issues of governance in various societal settings as viewed through the lens of sport. As Jens Sejer Andersen has noted, “Sport is an expression of civilization.” Through readings, discussions and individual and group projects students will engage a wide range of scholarly and popular literature, film and guest speakers to critically engage important issues that arise in the governance of sport. In this year’s course case studies that we will engage include the role of technological augmentation in sport, policies delineating participation eligibility in the Olympics according to gender, societal and policy responses to concussions in the NFL, equity in journalism related to sports reporting, genetics and athletic performance, doping in sport, sport as a laboratory for understanding prediction and decision making, and gender equity in sport and beyond. The student should emerge from this class with tools of critical thinking and analysis, along with greater substantive knowledge of various interesting and important cases in the governance of sport.  This course is designed to be intellectually challenging but also rewarding.
The course is an experiment of sorts as part of an emerging certificate program here at the University of Colorado-Boulder in "Critical Sports Studies." The syllabus is very much (but not completely) US focused and leaves more on the cutting-room floor than on the syllabus, yet at the same time, it asks a lot of the students.

The syllabus can be found here in PDF.

Your comments/suggestions most welcomed!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Deeper Look at FIFA Reform

The second installment of my analysis of FIFA reform is now up at Play the Game.

Some key findings and conclusions:
  1. 1. Overall FIFA adopted 7 of 59 recommendations (from TI, Pieth and the FIFA IGC) and partially adopted 10 others, leaving 42 unimplemented.
  2. 2. In a nutshell, the common characteristics of the proposed reforms not adopted are that they involved (a) sharing authority and control for FIFA decision making with FIFA outsiders, (b) the imposition of external standards of governance on the organization or (c) the opening up of the organization to greater transparency in areas outside the disbursement of FIFA funding to member organizations.
  3. I provide a list of nine topics which covers almost all of the 42 recommendations which went unimplemented. (see link below for this list)
  4. Assuming full and successful implementation of the proposed reforms in these nine areas would have raised FIFA’s score under the Chappelet-Mrkonjic framework to a level almost exactly equal to their score for the governance IOC -- up to a C level, still far from an A grade.
  5. Even with complete implementation of the recommendations by Transparency International, Mark Pieth and the IGC, FIFA would still have a considerable challenge remaining in raising FIFA governance to widely accepted best practices
  6. Despite the obviosu shortfall, it is also fair to conclude that several of the reforms which FIFA did implement may indeed be important achievements, such as the establishment of new ethics and audit & compliance committees, with the introduction of (at least partially) independent chairs.
The analysis in full can be found here:

At Play the Game 2013 in a few weeks I will complete the analysis by suggesting several recommendations for next steps in FIFA reform for those who are outside the organization yet would like to see the organization improve its governance practices.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Eligibility and National Teams

Jack Wilshire, the Arsenal and England footballer, opened up a flood of commentary when he commented, apparently of Adnan Januzaj (who introduced himself to England and the world with 2 great goals for Manchester United last week), that,
"The only people who should play for England are English people. If you've lived in England for five years, for me, it doesn't make you English. You shouldn't play. It doesn't mean you can play for that country. If I went to Spain and lived there for five years, I'm not going to play for Spain. For me an English player should play for England really." 
Wilshire's comments come on the heels of revelations that England would look favorably on Januzaj attaining eligibility to play for England, presumably via securing British citizenship:
Football Association chairman Greg Dyke has revealed discussions have started regarding eligibility boundaries as the debate over Manchester United teenager Adnan Januzaj representing England rages on.

The Belgium-born winger has risen to prominence after his two goals at Sunderland and is available to play for the country of his birth, Albania, Kosovo, Serbia and Turkey.

Januzaj could also represent the England team in 2018 on residency grounds if he remains in the country for the next five years, with manager Roy Hodgson confirming he would be interested in selecting the winger if he became eligible.
The general question here is who should be eligible to play for which national team, a question make slightly more complicated because some "national" teams don't even represent nations -- England being a prime example. There are actually 10 members of FIFA whose citizens hold British nationality and 5 members who hold US citizenship.

Nationality designation is a rule, like any other constitutive decision process in sports governance -- like rules of play, or rules governing doping or rules governing World Cup site selection. As such the rules are perceived to be better or worse, and are open to re-negotiation.

The rule that Wilshire apparently dislikes comes from FIFA, and covers the conditions under which a player can change eligibility, which was actually not possible (in the modern era at least) before 2004 (source Omar Ongaro: PDF). That language evolved up to 2008, since which time is has been unchanged:
 a) He was born on the territory of the relevant Association;
 b) His biological mother or biological father was born on the territory of  the relevant Association;
 c) His grandmother or grandfather was born on the territory of the relevant Association;
 d) He has lived continuously for at least five years after reaching the age of 18 on the territory of the relevant Association.
 The five year residency period used byFIFA conveniently is one year longer than the World Cup cycle, ensuring that a star player in one World Cup cannot show up playing for another team in the next. The five year period is also the same time period required under British law for acquiring British citizenship.

Showing how sensitive Wilshire's comments were, British cricket player Kevin Pietersen -- born in South Africa, has an English mother and lived in England for 4 years before playing for England -- tweeted the following:
Football obviously has meanings to people that evoke deep (and sometimes even unhealthy) feelings of nationalism and even ethnic pride. These issues get wrapped up in what it means to play for  England -- or any team for that matter -- in a way that takes the issue far beyond the bloodless texts of constitutive decision making.

While Wilshire's sentiment may be romantic, I'd guess that Dyke's pragmatism will ultimately win out. On this note Pietersen had the last laugh:

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Proposed Reforms from FIFA's IGC 2012 Report Unimplemented by FIFA

Below you can find the recommendations made by the FIFA IGC in its first report (here in PDF) which I have identified as having not been adopted by FIFA in its reform process. These recommendations comprise part of the reform evaluation which I recent discussed at Play the Game back in June and to which FIFA responded to here.

Overall, I identified 20 recommendations in the IGC report. Of those 20, FIFA failed to even partially implement 9 of them (with 5 implemented and 6 partially implemented). Those 9 unimplemented recommendations are listed below, to aid in discussion and (ideally) debate. 

Questions worth thinking about include: Which ones are most important? Which ones are secondary? Which may be off the mark? Comments welcomed either here or via email.

I've blogged on the unimplemented recommendations from the Transparency International report Safe Hands: Building Transparency and Integrity at FIFA and the unimplemented recommendations of Mark Pieth's 2011 paper Governing FIFA. This post completes the series. Next week I will discuss them together.

Here are the 9 unimplemented recommendations:
1. First and foremost it is fundamental that nominees for senior FIFA positions are vetted by an independent Nominations Committee, to be put in place as soon as possible, in order to ensure that candidates for the next elections fulfill the necessary substantive criteria and ethical requirements and that the selection process is fair and transparent.
2. it is furthermore fundamental that the Chairs of the Nomination Committee and the Audit & Compliance Committee have a seat in the Executive Committee
3. The  initial  candidates  for  [The  Chairs and Deputy  Chairs of  the Investigatory Chamber  and  the  Adjudicatory  Chamber]  should  be  selected  and  proposed  by  the  IGC
4. The  Secretariat  of  the  Ethics  Committee  should    directly  report  to    the  Chairs  of  the    investigatory  chamber  and  the  adjudicatory    chamber  respectively    and  should  be    independent  from  management;
5. "In  the  area  of  Compensation & Benefits, the  Audit & Compliance Committee  should  have the following main  responsibilities:
  • Define  the  overall  Compensation  &    Benefits  strategy  of  FIFA;  
  • Decide  on  the  Compensation  &    Benefits  of  the  President,  the  Executive  Committee    Members,  the  Secretary    General  and  the  Independent  Members  of  Standing    Committees;  
  • Transparency:  The  Compensation    &  Benefits  (including  all  elements  such  as  regular & variable  compensation  components,  benefits,  pension  fund  contributions, severance/termination  regulation  and    payments)  of  the  above  listed    positions should  be  individually  and  annually  reported  to  the  Congress;  
  • Regulations  should  be  adopted  containing  the  strategy  and  criteria  for    Compensation  &  Benefits; 
6. In  order  to  support    their  supervisory    function,  the    Chairs  of  the    Audit  &  Compliance    Committee    and    the  Nomination  Committee  should  participate  in  the  meetings  of  the  Executive  Committee;  they    should  therefore  have  a  seat  in    the  Executive    Committee.
7. Slightly    differing    from  the  suggestions  of    the  Task  Forces,  the  IGC proposes  the  introduction  of  the  following  terms  of  office:
  • President: 2 terms  of  4    years     
  • Executive  Committee: 2 terms  of  4 years  
  • Judicial    bodies: 1 term  of  6    years  
  • Chairmen  of  Standing  Committees: 1 term  of  8    years  
  • Retroactive  effect:  The  current  terms  of  affected  officials  should  continue;  upon  expiration  of  a second 4-­‐year    term,  only 1  additional  4-­‐year term  can  be added;
  • In  addition,  the  Statutes  should  state  the  “staggered  board”  principle  and  should  lay  the foundation  for  an  impeachment  procedure  by  the  Nomination Committee  (to  be  further regulated  on  policy  level)    in  case  an  official  proves to  be  unfit  for    office  during  his/her term  of  office.  
Contrary  to the  Task    Forces,  the  IGC    is  not  proposing  an    age  limit;  the  proposed  terms  of office, the  impeachment  procedure  and  the  integrity  checks  should  serve  the  purpose  of  ensuring efficient corporate  bodies.
8. The  Statutes  should  be  amended  by  the  responsibility  of  the  Audit  &  Compliance  Committee  to establish  and  monitor  a  best  practice    Compliance    Program  and  to    oversee  the  Compliance function.      
During  2012,  the  relating  policies  and  procedures  need  to  be  reviewed  by  the  IGC  before enactment by  the  Executive  Committee.  The  policies  need  to  address  –  inter  alia -- the  following topics  in  a consistent  (i.e.  the  same  rule  for  officials  and  employees)  and  detailed  way:
  • Conflicts  of  interest  
  • Gifts & hospitality  
  • Confidential  reporting  mechanism  
  • Responsibilities  and  resources  
9. In  order  to  ensure the integrity of  FIFA’s officials and  key employees  in  line  with  FIFA’s values and  principles, a Nomination Committee  should  be  established.  This  includes  the following primary  steps, which  should  be  implemented  as soon as possible:
  • The  Chair  and  the  Deputy  Chair  of  the  Nomination Committee  should  be  independent  in    accordance  with  the  definition  to be  included  in  the  FIFA  Statutes;  in  addition  they    should meet  the  necessary  professional  requirements    applicable  to  all  members of  the  Nomination Committee  as  set  out  in  the  proposed Organization  Regulations;  
  • The  initial  candidates  for  those  positions  should  be  selected  and  proposed  by  the  IGC;  
  • The  candidates  should  be  elected  by  the  competent  FIFA  body  and  start  their  functions as soon as possible;      
  • The  Nomination Committee  should  be  given  the  competences and  resources to  discharge  its  purpose;  it  should  draw  up a  budget  and  decide  on the  support  of  external  advice  at  its  own discretion.  It  shall  also  have  access  to  internal    investigatory  resources  of the  Ethics Committee;  
  • The  Nomination Committee  should  have  access  to complaints  and  allegations  filed    under the  confidential  reporting  mechanism  and  should  receive  regular updates    on  information relevant  for  their  remit;  
  • The  remit  of  the  Nomination Committee  should  include  the  following:  
  1. Search,  selection  and  proposal  of  independent  members  of  Standing    Committees 
  2. Checks  relating  to    professional  criteria  on  all  officials  covered    by  such    requirements  
  3. Integrity Checks  on key officials  and  employees  of  FIFA  
  4. The  cornerstones  of  the  Integrity  Check  should  be  regulated  in the FIFA  Statutes: 
  5. Personal  scope: Key  officials,  including President, Executive Committee Members,  Committee  Members  to  be  elected  by  Congress,  Finance Committee Members,  Key    employees  
  6. Temporal  scope:  Retroactive  for  all  current  position  holders;  upon   election/re-­‐election    
  7. Detailed  regulation  of  content  and  process  of  the  Integrity  Check  should  be established by the Nomination  Committee during  2012 and  a corresponding policy   should  be  adopted. The regulation should  be  reviewed  by  the  IGC  before  adoption;    
  8. In  order  to  improve  transparency  and  democracy,  all  open  positions  covered  by  the Nomination  Committee  procedure  should  be  made  public  and    applications  can be submitted to the Nomination Committee. 

Mark Pieth Looks Back

In the New York Times, James Montague quotes Mark Pieth on the FIFA reform effort:
At the FIFA Congress in May, he publicly challenged Blatter and FIFA to release details of the salaries and expenses of top officials.

“I turned around and said, ‘You could stun everyone,’ ” Pieth said. “I was saying: ‘Be bold. Show our critics that.’ ”

Then came the but. “They didn’t take up the challenge; these guys are too stuck in their traditional ways,” he said, adding: “We underestimated that this is a purely self-regulated body. They are a bit like the Vatican. No one can force them to change.”
Montague also says that Pieth resigned from the IGC. I'm not sure this is correct and have tweeted Montague a question. (UPDATE: Looks like Pieth has said he intends to step down by the end of 2013, which may in fact be a moot point, depending upon FIFA's druthers.)