FIFA—Where Crime Pays

Chapter

Abstract

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association, universally known as FIFA, was the personal fiefdom of its president, Sepp Blatter, until 2015 when the United States Justice Department indicted dozens of FIFA officials for bribery and corruption. FIFA administers football, known as soccer in Australia and North America, and organizes its immensely profitable World Cup championship once every four years. Tragically, international football has been corrupt for decades, making Blatter and other males at the top wonderfully wealthy. Blatter’s 17 years as president has been characterized as a “neverending governance crisis.” FIFA’s most recent troubles began in 2010 when FIFA announced Russia and Qatar as the shockingly unlikely hosts of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, a result widely believed to be the result of massive bribes. In response, Blatter announced a series of “reforms” which were actually an elaborate charade, an ongoing façade of Potemkinlike changes which made for good press releases. However, once Blatter’s successor as president, Gianni Infantino, took control, these reforms changed almost nothing. Football suffers in this way because, while FIFA is domiciled in Switzerland, it is best understood as a supra-national, stateless conglomerate answerable to no authority. This lack of accountability creates a moral hazard where football’s leaders enrich themselves with impunity, enjoying the many fruits of their perfect crimes. This will never be remedied from inside football. Although the proceedings brought by the U.S. Justice Department have secured 26 guilty pleas and verdicts, that effort is hardly a start at reforming football. Action by Switzerland and internationally is essential to reining in the “cesspit of corruption” at the world’s most popular sport.

References

  1. Andrews, M., & Harrington, P. (2016, January). Off Pitch: Football’s Financial Integrity Weaknesses, and How to Strengthen Them (CID Working Paper No. 311). Retrieved from Harvard University, Growth Lab, Sports Complexity and Governance Indicators. http://www.sports.growthlab.cid.harvard.edu/files/icss/files/cid_wp_311.pdf.
  2. Associated Press. (2016, November 18). Ex-Ecuador Soccer President Convicted in FIFA Graft Case. Retrieved from https://www.wsj.com/articles/ex-ecuador-soccer-president-convicted-in-fifa-graft-case-1479529118.
  3. Bardhan, P. (1997, September). Corruption and Development: A Review of Issues. Journal of Economic Literature, 35(3), 1320–1346.Google Scholar
  4. Basel Institute on Governance. (2012). Independent Governance Committee Charter. Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20140427073630/www.baselgovernance.org/gov/governance-in-sports/fifa/independent-governance-committee-charter/.
  5. BBC. (2016, May 14). Domenico Scala: FIFA’s Independent Audit Committee President Resigns. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/sport/football/36293324.
  6. BBC. (2017, June 16). Swiss FIFA Corruption Inquiry Convicts Ex-Banker Arzuaga. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-40304575.
  7. Bean, B. (2016). An Interim Essay on FIFA’s World Cup of Corruption: The Desparate Need for International Corporate Governance Standards at FIFA. ILSA Journal of International & Comparative Law, 22(2), 1–27. Retrieved from https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2714957.
  8. Bean, B. (2017). The Perfect Crime? FIFA and the Absence of Accountability in Switzerland. University of Maryland Journal of International Law. Retrieved from https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2972209.
  9. Beer ‘Must be Sold’ at Brazil World Cup, Says FIFA. (2012, January 19). Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-16624823.
  10. Bousigue, A., & Stricker, C. (2015). The Economic Impact of International Sports Organisations in Switzerland 2008–2013. Retrieved from http://aists.org/sites/default/files/publication-pdf/aists_economic_impact_study-english-web.pdf.
  11. Bowen, N. (2010, January 30). Rothera Diary—January 2010 [Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://www.bas.ac.uk/blogpost/rothera-diary-january-2010/.
  12. Bradley, S. (2013, May 31). A Culture of Change is Seeping into FIFA. Retrieved from http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/culture/football-reforms_-a-culture-of-change-is-seeping-into-fifa-/36006902.
  13. Carrard, F. (2015, December). Proposed Set of Principles for Reforms. Retrieved from http://resources.fifa.com/mm/document/affederation/footballgovernance/02/74/17/96/exco_reformcommitteefinal_neutral.pdf.
  14. Chadwick, S. (2017, May 31). China’s FIFA Sponsorship and Off-Field Football Goals: Scoring Through Sponsorship in the Grand Soccer Plan. Retrieved from https://www.policyforum.net/chinas-fifa-sponsorship-off-field-football-goals/.
  15. CNN (2015, May 27). FIFA Corruption Probe Targets ‘World Cup of Fraud,’ IRS Chief Says. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/27/football/fifa-corruption-charges-justice-department/index.html.
  16. Code Civil [CC][Civil Code] December 10, 1907, SR 210, art. 60 (Switz.). Retrieved from https://www.admin.ch/opc/en/classified-compilation/19070042/201701010000/210.pdf.
  17. Das, A. (2017, May 9). FIFA Moves to Replace Ethics Committee Leaders. New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/09/sports/soccer/fifa-ethics-committee-fired.html.
  18. Downie, A. (2016, February 5). Jailed Uruguayan Reaches Plea Bargain in FIFA Case. Retrieved from http://www.reuters.com/article/us-soccer-fifa-uruguay-idUSKCN0VE2M7.
  19. Duval, A. (2016, July 1). The Rules of the Game: The Need for Transparency in Sports Governance. Retrieved from http://www.playthegame.org/news/comments/2016/034_the-rules-of-the-game-the-need-for-transparency-in-sports-governance/.
  20. Eckert, H. (2013, April 29). Statement of the Chairman of the FIFA Adjudicatory Chamber, Hans-Joachim Eckert, on the Examination of the ISL Case. Retrieved from http://www.fifa.com/mm/document/affederation/footballgovernance/02/06/60/80/islreporteckert29.04.13e.pdf.
  21. Eckert, H. (2014, November 13). Statement of the Chairman of the Adjudicatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee on the Report on the Inquiry into the 2018/2022 FIFA World CupTM Bidding Process Prepared by the Investigatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee. Retrieved from http://www.fifa.com/mm/document/affederation/footballgovernance/02/47/41/75/statementchairmanadjcheckert_neutral.pdf.
  22. Federal Council. (2015, September 25). Criminal Proceedings Against the President of FIFA [Press release]. Retrieved from https://www.admin.ch/gov/en/start/dokumentation/medienmitteilungen.msg-id-58891.html.
  23. Fédération Internationale de Football Association. (2009). FIFA Code of Ethics. Retrieved from http://www.fifa.com/mm/document/affederation/administration/50/02/82/efsdcodeofethics_web.pdf.
  24. Fédération Internationale de Football Association. (2012a). FIFA Code of Ethics. Retrieved from http://resources.fifa.com/mm/document/affederation/administration/50/02/82/codeofethics_v211015_e_neutral.pdf.
  25. Fédération Internationale de Football Association. (2012b, March 30). FIFA Executive Committee Agrees Major Governance Reforms & Ethics Structure [Press release]. Retrieved from http://www.fifa.com/about-fifa/news/y=2012/m=3/news=fifa-executive-committee-agrees-major-governance-reforms-ethics-structur-1608553.html.
  26. Fédération Internationale de Football Association. (2012c, September 29). Russia United for 2018 FIFA World Cup Host Cities Announcement [Press release]. Retrieved from http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/news/y=2012/m=9/news=russia-united-for-2018-fifa-world-cup-host-cities-announcement-1711839.html.
  27. Fédération Internationale de Football Association. (2015a, May). Financial Report 2014. Retrieved from http://resources.fifa.com/mm/document/affederation/administration/02/56/80/39/fr2014weben_neutral.pdf.
  28. Fédération Internationale de Football Association. (2015b, July 27). Task Force “Reforms” to be Chaired by Independent Person from Outside Football [Press release]. Retrieved from http://www.fifa.com/governance/news/y=2015/m=7/news=task-force-reforms-to-be-chaired-by-independent-person-from-outside-fo-2668178.html.
  29. Fédération Internationale de Football Association. (2015c, December 16). 2014 FIFA World Cup™ Reached 3.2 Billion Viewers, One Billion Watched Final [Press release]. Retrieved from http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/news/y=2015/m=12/news=2014-fifa-world-cuptm-reached-3-2-billion-viewers-one-billion-watched–2745519.html.
  30. Fédération Internationale de Football Association. (2016, April). FIFA Statutes. Retrieved from http://resources.fifa.com/mm/Document/AFFederation/Generic/02/78/29/07/FIFAStatutswebEN_Neutral.pdf?t=1461659845938.
  31. Fédération Internationale de Football Association. (2017a, May 11). Financial Report 2016. Retrieved from http://resources.fifa.com/mm/document/affederation/footballgovernance/02/87/89/44/fr2016digitalen_neutral.pdf.
  32. Fédération Internationale de Football Association. (2017b, June 27). FIFA Statement on Recent Media Coverage Regarding the “Garcia Report” [Press release]. Retrieved from http://www.fifa.com/governance/news/y=2017/m=6/news=fifa-statement-on-recent-media-coverage-regarding-the-garcia-report-2898791.html.
  33. Fédération Internationale de Football Association Executive Committee. (2011, October). Proposals by the FIFA President Following the 61st FIFA Congress 2011 in Zurich. Retrieved from http://www.fifa.com/mm/document/affederation/committees/01/53/05/80/proposal_pdt_21102011.pdf.
  34. Fédération Internationale de Football Association Reform Committee. (2015, December 2). 2016 FIFA Reform Committee Report. Retrieved from http://resources.fifa.com/mm/Document/AFFederation/FootballGovernance/02/74/17/54/2015.11.27FinalReport_forpublication_Neutral.pdf?t=1449142382457.
  35. FIFA Bans Ex-German Football Boss Niersbach Over World Cup Bid. (2016, July 25). Retrieved from http://www.straitstimes.com/sport/football/football-fifa-bans-ex-german-football-boss-over-2006-world-cup-bid.
  36. Garcia, M., & Borbély, C. (n.d.). Report on the Inquiry into the 2018/2022 FIFA World CupTM Bidding Process. Retrieved from http://resources.fifa.com/mm/document/affederation/footballgovernance/02/89/87/97/aus_bel-ned_eng_esp-por_jpn_kor_qat_report_neutral.pdf.
  37. Gibson, O. (2013, April 22). Anti-bribery Expert Resigns in Frustration at Lack of FIFA Progress. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/football/2013/apr/22/anti-bribery-resigns-fifa.
  38. Gibson, O. (2015, September 13). Sepp Blatter Under Pressure Over World Cup TV Rights Links to Jack Warner. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/sep/13/jack-warner-sepp-blatter-world-cup-rights-profit.
  39. Goldblatt, D. (2006). The Ball is Round. New York: Penguin.Google Scholar
  40. Grassley, C. (2016, June 15). Re: Investigation of the American Red Cross [Letter to members of the Senate Judiciary and Finance Committees]. Retrieved from https://www.grassley.senate.gov/sites/default/files/constituents/2016-06-15%20Senator%20Grassley%20Red%20Cross%20Inquiry.pdf.
  41. Harding, A. (2015, June 3). Did South Africa Pay a World Cup Bribe? Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32985032.
  42. Harris, N., & Sale, C. (2015, September 30). FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke Relieved of his Duties After Being Accused of Seeking to Earn Huge Profits by Providing World Cup Tickets for Sale on Black Market. MailOnline. Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/sportsnews/article-3238665/FIFA-hit-fresh-scandal-Sepp-Blatter-s-right-hand-man-Jerome-Valcke-accused-seeking-earn-huge-profits-providing-World-Cup-tickets-sale-black-market.html.
  43. Hiltzik, M. (2017, February 10). One CalPERS Board Member Asks Tough Questions About Its Investments. Why Are His Colleagues Trying to Muzzle Him?. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-hiltzik-calpers-board-20170212-story.html.
  44. Hughes, R. (2006, December. 6). FIFA Clears Warner in Ticket Scam—Sports—International Herald Tribune. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/06/sports/06iht-warner.3807592.html.
  45. Hyde, M. (2015, January 21). Sepp Blatter’s Limp Challengers Reveal Him as the World’s Best Dictator [Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2015/jan/21/sepp-blatter-challengers-dictator-marina-hyde.
  46. Independent Governance Committee. (2012, March 20). FIFA Governance Reform Project: First Report by the Independent Governance Committee to the Executive Committee of FIFA. Retrieved from http://resources.fifa.com/mm/document/affederation/footballgovernance/01/60/85/44/first_report_by_igc_to_fifa_exco%5B2%5D.pdf.
  47. Independent Governance Committee. (2013, February 6). FIFA Governance Reform Project: Second Report by the Independent Governance Committee to the Executive Committee of FIFA. Retrieved from http://slideflix.net/doc/3110516/independent-governance-committee.
  48. Independent Governance Committee. (2014, April 22). FIFA Governance Reform Project: Final Report by the Independent Governance Committee to the Executive Committee of FIFA. Retrieved from https://www.baselgovernance.org/sites/collective.localhost/files/documents/final_report_by_igc_to_fifa_exco_en.pdf.
  49. Ingraham, C. (2015, May 27). The Toll of Human Casualities[sic] in Qatar. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/05/27/a-body-count-in-qatar-illustrates-the-consequences-of-fifa-corruption/.
  50. Jennings, A. (2006). Foul! The Secret World of FIFA: Bribes, Vote Rigging and Ticket Scandals. London: HarperSport.Google Scholar
  51. Jordaan Knew About $10m, but Denies Bribery. (2015, June 1). Retrieved from https://www.enca.com/south-africa/jordaan-knew-about-10m-denies-bribery.
  52. Koltrowitz, S. (2015, November 25). Humiliated Blatter Says Only FIFA Congress Can Bar Him. Retrieved from http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-soccer-fifa-blatter-idUKKBN0TE2TF20151125.
  53. Leitch, W. (2016, May 27). The World Cup of Corruption. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-world-cup-of-corruption-1464379006.
  54. Letzing, J., & Robinson, J. (2016, June 19). Auditor Raised Issues with FIFA Before Resigning. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from https://www.wsj.com/articles/auditor-raised-issues-with-fifa-before-resigning-1466380050.
  55. Longman, J. (2014, December 17). FIFA Investigator Michael J. Garcia Quits in Dispute Over Report. New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/18/sports/soccer/michael-j-garcia-resigns-as-fifa-prosecutor-in-protest.html.
  56. M.V. (2015, June 1). How America is Pursuing FIFA [Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2015/06/economist-explains.
  57. Miles, T. (2015, July 28). Putin Thinks FIFA’s Sepp Blatter Deserves a Nobel Prize. Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/putin-thinks-fifas-sepp-blatter-deserves-a-nobel-prize_us_55b6888fe4b0074ba5a59686.
  58. Murad, A., Agnew, H., & Atkins, R. (2016, June 20). KPMG Quits FIFA Over Reform Programme Doubts. Financial Times. Retrieved from https://www.ft.com/content/0de97f98-360f-11e6-9a05-82a9b15a8ee7.
  59. Panja, T., Martin, A., & Silver, V. (2015, April 30). A League of His Own: How Sepp Blatter Controls Soccer. Retrieved from https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2015-sepp-blatter-fifa/.
  60. Payne, M. (2015, October 23). Germany Says It Didn’t Bribe FIFA Officials for 2006 World Cup, but Its Explanation Is Shaky. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2015/10/23/germany-says-it-didnt-bribe-fifa-officials-for-2006-world-cup-but-its-explanation-is-shaky/?utm_term=.020de8c313c8.
  61. Peck, T. (2014, November 14). Eckert: FIFA Summary Was Word for Word. Independent. Retrieved from http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/eckert-fifa-summary-was-word-for-word-9862663.html.
  62. Pielke, R. (2013, October 15). A Deeper Look at FIFA’s Reform Scorecard. Retrieved from http://www.playthegame.org/news/news-articles/2013/a-deeper-look-at-fifa%E2%80%99s-reform-scorecard/.
  63. Pieth, M. (2016, June 18). Infantino’s FIFA Is a ‘Return to the Blatter Middle Ages’. Retrieved from https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/mark-pieth_infantino-s-fifa-is-a–return-to-the-blatter-middle-ages-/42236068.
  64. Reider-Gordon, M. (2014). Money Laundering, Corruption, and the World Cup: In the Wake of Brazil 2014. Southwestern Journal of International Law, 21(1), 97–124.Google Scholar
  65. Reuters. (2015, June 3). South Africa Says it Paid $10 Million to FIFA but It Wasn’t a Bribe. Newsweek. Retrieved from http://www.newsweek.com/south-africa-says-it-paid-10-million-fifa-it-wasnt-bribe-338767.
  66. Reuters. (2016, April 20). Swiss Crack Down on Bribery as ‘Lex FIFA’ Set to Take Force. Retrieved from http://www.reuters.com/article/us-swiss-corruption-idUSKCN0XH1GE.
  67. Robinson, J. (2013, June 4). FIFA Slowly Sails Toward Reform. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887324063304578521301415971928.
  68. Rossberg, P. (2017, June 27). The Garcia Report: Soccer World Cup in Russia and Qatar—Bild Uncovers FIFA’s Secret. Bild. Retrieved from http://www.bild.de/politik/ausland/bild-international/the-garcia-report-soccer-world-cup-in-russia-and-qatar-bild-uncovers-fifas-secret-52328892.bild.html.
  69. Rumsby, B. (2016, May 16). Gianni Infantino’s First Crisis as FIFA President Intensifies as Prince Ali Accuses Him of ‘Complete Betrayal’. The Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/football/2016/05/16/gianni-infantinos-first-crisis-as-fifa-president-intensifies-as/.
  70. Schenk, S. (2011). Safe Hands: Building Integrity and Transparency at FIFA. Retrieved from https://www.transparency.org/whatwedo/publication/safe_hands_building_integrity_and_transparency_at_fifa.
  71. Sepp Blatter Salary as FIFA President Revealed for First Time. (2016, March 17). Independent. Retrieved from http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/international/sepp-blatter-salary-as-fifa-president-revealed-for-first-time-a6936946.html.
  72. Silver, V., Gretler, C., & Miller, H. (2015, May 27). FIFA Busts at Baur au Lac: Inside the Five-Star Takedown. Retrieved from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-05-27/fifa-busts-at-baur-au-lac-inside-soccer-s-five-star-takedown.
  73. Smith, J. (2016). FIFA Confirms 2010 World Cup Bribes Were Paid. Eyewitness News. Retrieved from http://ewn.co.za/2016/03/16/Fifa-confirms-2010-World-Cup-bribes-were-paid.
  74. Sonne, P. (2015, May 28). Vladimir Putin Says U.S. Is Overstepping with FIFA Probe. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from https://www.wsj.com/articles/vladimir-putin-accuses-u-s-over-pursuit-of-fifa-executives-1432813137.
  75. Superseding Indictment, United States v. Hawit, Cr. No. 15-252 (S-1) (E.D.N.Y. 2015). Retrieved from http://www.justice.gov/opa/file/796966/download.
  76. Swiss Code of Best Practice for Corporate Governance. (2014). Retrieved from https://www.economiesuisse.ch/sites/default/files/publications/economiesuisse_swisscode_e_web.pdf.
  77. Transparency International. (2017, January 25). Corruption Perceptions Index 2016. Retrieved from https://www.transparency.org/news/feature/corruption_perceptions_index_2016#table.
  78. Union of European Football Associations. (2013, January 24). European Associations Issue Unanimous Declaration [Press release]. Retrieved from http://www.uefa.com/insideuefa/mediaservices/mediareleases/newsid=1913701.html.
  79. Varandani, S. (2015, July 22). Bolivia Soccer Federation President Carlos Chavez Jailed, Executive Secretary Under House Arrest in Embezzlement Case. Retrieved from http://www.ibtimes.com/bolivia-soccer-federation-president-carlos-chavez-jailed-executive-secretary-under-2019205.
  80. Wallis, H. B. (Producer), & Curtiz, M. (Director). (1942). Casablanca [Motion picture]. United States: Warner Brothers.Google Scholar
  81. Wooden, J. (n.d.). John Wooden Quotes About Character. Retrieved from http://www.azquotes.com/author/15923-John_Wooden/tag/character.
  82. World Cup Scandal: Germany Appears to Have Bought Right to Host 2006 Tournament. (2015, October 16). Spiegel Online. Retrieved from http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/documents-indicate-slush-fund-used-in-german-world-cup-bid-a-1058212.html.
  83. Wrage, A. (2013, April 23). FIFA’s Rotten Reform Record. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/alexandrawrage/2013/04/23/fifas-reform-record/#7e7cb5cf3396.
  84. Wrage, A. (2016, June 30). FIFA: More of the Same. Retrieved from http://www.themarknews.com/2016/06/30/fifa-more-of-the-same/.
  85. Yallop, D. (1999). How They Stole the Game. London, UK: Poetic.Google Scholar
  86. Ziegler, M. (2016, August 17). Havelange, Father of FIFA Corruption, Dies Aged 100. The Times. Retrieved from https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/havelange-father-of-fifa-corruption-dies-aged-100-tljct58xq.
  87. Zirin, D. (2014, June 6). Throw FIFA Out of the Game. New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/08/opinion/sunday/throw-fifa-out-of-the-game.html?_r=0.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Michigan State University College of LawEast LansingUSA

Personalised recommendations