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FIFA and the reinvention of football
Former President Blatter
The Fédération Internationale de Football Association, (FIFA) has been linked to multiple scandals regarding corruption. Since summer of 2015 there have been multiple arrests of top executive directors in this organization. These arrests range from accepting bribes to money laundering. This all started on may 2015, when the Department of Justice of the United States government indicted 14 top FIFA executives on the grounds of bribery and money laundering, this was the first blow to the FIFA reputation. Then came continuos arrests to FIFA, like the arrest of the president of football in north and central america, Jeffrey Webb. The people being arrested or questioned where getting higher up the food chain inside this organization, which lead to a distrust on the former president of the FIFA, Joseph Blatter.
Joseph Blatter is an 80 year old man, who refuses to allow change in the organization and in the sport was also practically a dictator of FIFA from june 8th 1998 to october 8th 2015. Under the leadership of Joseph Blatter this organization became a business, where money was more important than the sport that they were representing. Instead of focusing on the game, they focused on how they could maximize profits, both legally and illegally. This lead to a continuous distrust in the FIFA organization, where people could feel that the organization was too corrupt and that a major changed was needed, but Joseph Blatter had too much power and it seemed no one could remove him from the presidency. Ironically the ones who finally decided to take action, where the ones who have the least interest in the sport, which is the United States, where other sports such as baseball and basketball outrank football. Finally the pressure was too much and the FIFA ethics committee was forced to remove Joseph Blatter as president and elect a new president. This new president represents a new generation, with new ideas and a new mindset towards football, this new leader is called Gianni Infantino.
A New Future in FIFA
With the departure of Joseph Blatter, a newfound hope for a better football organization began to grow among football fans. There is hope that FIFA will become a more ethical organization. One that doesn't bribes countries in order to buy votes to decide who will host the next World Cup. One that helps bring football to what it should be, a sport that is constantly evolving. The first changes made by Gianni Infantino gave us a glimpse of what will come. They already made changes to the rules such as transparency reforms to start cleaning FIFA's image, and started the process of implementing technology to the sport. However, not everything is improving at the pace it should.
Just this week, Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan, a candidate for the FIFA presidency this same year, said that “Infantino should focus on implementing reforms rather than issues such as proposals to expand the World Cup” (“Prince Ali says”, 2016). FIFA is known for focusing on subjects that are not urgent. For example, Prince Ali said, they should stop worrying so much about the next tournament, and start implementing reforms that will give them a better image with football fans all around the world. This is of huge concern since FIFA has to totally change the way people look at them. The biggest football organization in the world just had a major corruption scandal, and the fact that the new president has done so little to become more transparent is worrying.
Improving was not really that hard. Anyone other than Joseph Blatter was a better option. Gianni Infantino already handled the issue with technology in football, something that should have happened a long time ago. He has taken action regarding transparency within the organization. Nonetheless, it hasn't been nearly enough. FIFA is losing its reputation and positive impacts, and with it, they might end up losing their power as well. Only time will tell whether FIFA chose the right president to succeed Blatter. As of right now, Infantino has made the right decisions, but they haven't been enough. Hopefully this is the start of an era in which the sport we love so much will return to its former glory.