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.


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