After his successful re-election in May this year, FIFA President Sepp Blatter said that his main priority would be to introduce a number of major changes to the way the world’s governing body was run. An Extraordinary Congress would be held to ratify these revolutionary changes.

What has happened so far? Not a lot.

A recent report by Transparency International was highly critical of the way the organisation was governed but the SS FIFA, like a super tanker on the high seas, sails on regardless, unable to change course quickly such is the momentum of the present system and the vested interests that are part of it.

The report is clearly damming of the present situation within FIFA and states in its introduction:-

‘FIFA’s efforts to bring integrity to sport have to start at the top. They count for nothing without good governance, top down, that sends a signal to all those involved in football that there is zero tolerance of corruption throughout the sport.

Those responsible for governing the world of football and ensuring the sport’s integrity in this challenging environment must lead by example. In doing so, they send a positive message to the world.’

Transparency International calls for the creation of a multi-stakeholder group drawn from FIFA’s stakeholders. Such a multi-stakeholder group would assist the process of re-establishing the credibility of FIFA and world football and would work with FIFA to develop strong anti-bribery and anticorruption measures.

The TI Report makes a number of sensible suggestions including:

A time limit on the period anyone can serve on the FIFA Executive Committee or serve as President. There have only been three FIFA Presidents in the last 50 years.

An overhaul of its composition to include representatives from confederations, federations, players, leagues, referees and the women’s game.

An independent panel drawn from both outside and inside of the game to set up a review of these procedures.

Disclosure of all possible conflicts of interest and of all gifts received.These are some of the basic starting points and will begin to increase the transparency which needs to be introduced.

Too much power is presently entrusted to the FIFA Executive Committee. There are too few changes to its membership and it wields tremendous influence.

Its credibility has plummeted in recent months with nine out of the twenty four members the subject of allegations of some sort.

It controversially awarded the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar amid accusations of corruption during the bidding process. Too much power is concentrated in such a small committee.

At the present time the SS FIFA sails on regardless, however. It is not in its nature to make radical changes although these are urgently needed.

Hopefully the recommendations of Transparency International will not go the same way as many other proposals for change before them.

Remember how long it takes a super tanker to turn, however!

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