World football’s governing body FIFA, governments and sponsors have been urged to clean up football following years of corruption and scandal. Transparency International has issued a damning report on the governance record of the most popular global sport.
“When results – of games, of contests to host events or of elections to run sports bodies – are determined not by fair competition but by corruption, we feel betrayed. Cleaning up sport is therefore essential, not only for the good of the game but for the good of society as a whole,” said Transparency International Managing Director Cobus de Swardt.
On Friday, FIFA members meet in Zurich to vote on a series of reforms and to replace the disgraced Sepp Blatter with a new President.
Transparency International polled 25,000 football fans in 28 countries on what they thought of FIFA. Some 69% of respondents said they had no confidence in the Zurich-based body and 60% said they would not vote for any of the five presidential candidates on Friday.
Only half of the fans polled thought FIFA stood a chance of restoring its battered reputation.
The damning poll results follow years of bribery, match ticket, marketing rights, FIFA presidential election and World Cup allocation scandals. Blatter, who has stood at the top of the world sport since 1998, is currently serving an eight year ban from the game – pending the results of an appeal.
The head of European football, Michel Platini, has also been banned from eight years while a host of other football officials from around the world have been ejected from FIFA – some with lifelong bans. In addition, both the United States and Switzerland are conducting criminal investigations into alleged corruption in FIFA and its member bodies.
Transparency International makes five major recommendations that could be applied to any sport. These are: financial transparency from all sports bodies, cities and countries to ask citizens if they want to host a major sporting event, safeguards around major events to prevent corruption and labour, human rights and environmental abuses, sponsors to hold sport accountable for their integrity records and for governments to hold sporting bodies to account for their actions.