12 months on, what’s changed at FIFA?
February 27, 2017
It’s business as usual at FIFA according to FIFA reform campaign group, #NewFIFANow, after evaluating the first twelve months in office of FIFA President, Gianni Infantino.
#NewFIFANow has looked at each of the 30 measures contained in the so-called reform package approved by the FIFA Congress this time last year to give the FIFA President a score of 133 (or 44%) out of 300.
“The reality is that not much has changed at FIFA in the twelve months since Gianni Infantino’s election,” said one of the three co-founders of #NewFIFANow, Damian Collins MP, Chairman of the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee.
“Mr Infantino has taken a leaf out of the FIFA Presidential Playbook with measures such as increasing representation on committees, increasing the World Cup, handing-out more money to member associations and confederations, and diverting attention with outlandish ideas such as getting rid of the offside rule.
“If we take expansion of the World Cup as one example, it does two things. It makes more member associations happy and it brings in more money – and he sees that as a pathway to re-election in 2019.
“Mr Infantino needs more revenue to fund the massive shortfall in his election promises.”
According to another co-founder Jaimie Fuller, Infantino has also enthusiastically taken-up a favourite past time of his predecessor, Sepp Blatter.
“It seems whoever is the FIFA President sees themselves as the Marco Polo of world sport,” said Mr Fuller.
“Hardly a day goes by without seeing Mr Infantino’s face pop-up somewhere or another – such as Russia, Qatar, Zimbabwe, Myanmar, Gabon, Nigeria, Brazil, New Guinea, Vatican City and elsewhere.
“Just like Sepp Blatter, he smilingly tells his hosts just exactly what they want to hear.
“What our scorecard shows is that what world football has is ‘smoke and mirrors’ but not much else,” said Mr Fuller.
“There has been progress on some of the measures, but they have failed on many others which is why the overall score is a big fail.”
Mr Fuller said the FIFA President is adept at ‘ducking and weaving’ to avoid scrutiny.
He said that some of the issues that deserve closer attention include:
At the next FIFA Congress in May to be held in Bahrain, FIFA will attempt to draw a line under past alleged corrupt practices by football officials. Mr Infantino is also expected to present a report prepared by Quinn Emmanuel outlining the way forward.
“There are many issues that need to be addressed,” said co-founder Bonita Mersiades.
“One of our concerns has always been, and remains, that FIFA and many of its member associations are not accountable to the game’s biggest stakeholders – supporters and volunteers. It is a significant failing of the limited reforms in the first place.
“We are also concerned about the lack of checks and balances within the member associations and confederations,” Ms Mersiades said.
#NewFIFANow says the structure of many member associations is not representative of the game’s stakeholders, they hold significant influence at the grassroots and professional level in their countries and regions especially in relation to the disbursement of resources, and yet remain unaccountable.
“Little progress has been made in this area in the past twelve months, and it’s not clear that there is an appetite or a capacity within FIFA to do anything about it,” said Ms Mersiades.
A copy of the complete scorecard is available here.
#NewFIFANow has a Charter and Guiding Principles for the reform of world football at www.newfifanow.org.
Want to see the Scorecard?