Friday, March 23

Stories Of the Day: Fair Play - Fans follow what FIFA does not

"FIFA Fair Play" - while fans support anti-racism campaigns, apparently that program and mantra does not matter to its own issuing governing body off the field...

Seeing Red: Got to give a hand to the supporters groups around North America that are part of the Independent Supporters Council (ISC) ‘Show Racism the Red Card’ initiative. Creative and nice to see something so widespread and organized that does not come from MLS HQ.

FIFA Accountability: A story from The Associated Press was published today involving FIFA transparency.
AP: FIFA's anti-corruption adviser called for swift publication on Friday of a Swiss court document revealing which soccer officials took millions of dollars from marketing agency ISL as kickbacks from World Cup broadcasting deals.
I seem to recall over the past year, especially during the CONCACAF conundrum, numerous occasions when Sepp Blatter said FIFA was on a path to transparency. Continued refusal to share this kind of information is wrong. FIFA is a large, important sporting organization and, like The Olympic Games, should be far more transparent to be corruption free, especially with as much money involved and gambling associated with the sport.

You can't completely eliminate wrongdoers and scandal, but you have to make an effort instead of looking the other way and telling outsiders 'nothing to see here.'

The sport should model itself, in some respects, after the American political system where government officials disclose their financial dealings. FIFA, the confederations, federations and the top officials from each should be releasing all of the applicable financial documents associated with the business they do.

Everyone knows there is an obscene amount of money moving around the sport. Fans and media just want to know that it is being used properly. To know that individuals in positions of power are not abusing the access they have or placing the game in disrepute.

And it is not just fans and media that deserve full disclosure. FIFA is strict about governments not interfering in the game, but on the other hand expect host nations to spend millions, if not billions, building venues and supporting soccer programs. These countries who spend millions on bidding for things like the World Cup, should have the security to know that the money they are spending is not being wasted while other nations and/or federations are surreptitiously cheating or undermining the system. 

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