For those of you that are unfamiliar with FIFA, the organisation, rather than the video game that is, it is the worlds leading organisation for football. Essentially, FIFA runs football. It determines who hosts the World Cup, one of the greatest sporting events on the planet and the European Championships, which can greatly influence the performance of teams in these tournaments.
FIFA, or to give it its full name, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, is unbelievably corrupt. The level of the corruption may be debatable, but the fact that there is widespread corruption within FIFA is almost universally accepted.
Over the past three years, at least 12 of the organization’s 24 Executive Committee members have been accused of serious issues involving bribes, illegal ticket sales and other scandals. While Sepp Blatter, FIFA’s president since 1998, has escaped punishment—so far, at least—many of his colleagues have fallen or resigned. Blatter himself has already made his greatest contribution to the sport, and it is not a fantastic new innovation or the cleaning up of his own organisation, but a short clip in which he falls off a stage, which is quite funny and definitely worth a quick search on YouTube.
Despite being a registered charity, recently released financial results show that FIFA has over $1 Billion in it's reserves, a reserve which FIFA have deemed as a rainy day fund. Thankfully, FIFA have been putting all this money to good use, producing their own movie, about itself, showing that FIFA is the type of narcissistic organisation that churns out propaganda that portrays the founders of FIFA, whose names history has forgotten, a glorious heroes, devoted to creating an organisation that will promote fair play in football around the world. Unfortunately, they appear to have failed.
One of the latest and greatest scandals to rock footballing's governing body to the very core was the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. These went to Russia and Qatar respectively. Although I do have a reasonable knowledge of world geography, I had never heard of Qatar before they were awarded the greatest competition in the world. Needless to say I ,like the vast majority of people, was exceptionally surprised, but more than that, I was confused.
A quick Google search revealed that Qatar is a small middle Eastern country, made up mainly of desert, with no real history of football and average summer temperatures of 38 Celsius, which can easily rise to 47. Qatar also has a huge amount of oil money. Add all these factors together, along with the fact that FIFA is a rotten organisation and it becomes exceptionally difficult to imagine a scenario where the proverbial bags of money didn't change hands underneath the table. Qatar's plan to host the World Cup involves stadiums in cities that do not even exist yet. There is talk of rescheduling the World Cup to the winter months, when the temperatures are at least playable, but this would wreak havoc upon the domestic leagues. A World Cup in Qatar is simply not a good idea, and it is certainly not desirable.
But what really annoys me about FIFA is not the unbelievable corruption, it is the fact that the organisation even exists at all. Scandals cannot shake the corridors of power in football if they do not exist. Surely it would be much better for the game if FIFA were scrapped completely and replaced by an assembly of all the heads of each nations FA, who would then vote on major decisions, such as where to host World Cups. Whilst this is still far from perfect, it must be a better idea than the current system of government by an organisation that is grotesquely corrupt.