FIFA (the Fédération Internationale de Football Association) is most well known for their role in selecting the host country for the World Cup, the biggest sporting event in the world. In the past two years, however, FIFA has been most well known for being one of the least transparent organizations in the world–to the point where the FBI decided to intervene!
The corruption charges against FIFA and the ensuing investigation have been extensive and complicated for fans to keep track. Fourteen FIFA members were indicted for charges such as, bribery, corruption, illegal payments, etc., and Sepp Blatter, the long-time leader of FIFA, was suspended from the game for 6 years (originally 8) due to illegal payments.
This is a dark time for FIFA, but we hold some optimism hat FIFA is moving in the right direction. The newly elected president Gianni Infantino is leading FIFA into a new era. Infantino was instrumental in the creation of a reform package that will help move the sport and FIFA organization forward.
Unfortunately, when things were starting to look better, there was another setback in April of 2016, when Infantino’s name appeared on documents leaked in the “Panama Papers,” which has put him under suspicion.
Has FIFA turned a corner toward becoming the transparent organization that the game deserves? We’ll have to wait and see, but there are reasons for us to have hope that FIFA can make strides in transparency.