FIFA has looked fairly bumbling in recent months, as 14 people have been arrested in relation to a US-led fraud case against the organization. FIFA chief Sepp Blatter announced that he was stepping down only days after being re-elected to his post, and then kept showing up for work. He subsequently told the world that he didn’t mean “right now” but maybe later this year.
It turns out that the election for Blatter’s replacement won’t take place until next February, the Guardian reports. And then, Blatter will surely want to help with the transition, which means he’ll has plenty more time to make the organization’s extremely black eye even blacker.
The lunacy of it all was highlighted Monday morning when the press conference Blatter hosted to announce the election date along with planned reforms was interrupted by British comedian Simon Brodkin, who threw a wad of fake money at Blatter after asking for the 2026 World Cup to be held in North Korea. Brodkin was promptly arrested, but not before he made his extremely clear point: FIFA has a long way to go before its image is cleared up.
Coca-Cola, one of FIFA’s top-tier sponsors, is asking for an independent commission to oversee the reform process. The hope is that the third-party group would be led by someone of great stature, such as former United Nations Secretary Kofi Annan. However, the request is expected to be “overlooked,” the BBC reports, because FIFA’s “leadership believ[es] it has the answers to the organization’s problems already at hand.”
“We believe that establishing this independent commission will be the most credible way for FIFA to approach its reform process and is necessary to build back the trust it has lost,” Coke told the organization earlier this month, according to the BBC. “We are calling for this approach out of our deep commitment to ethics and human rights and in the interest of seeing FIFA succeed.”
FIFA has a number of plans under consideration for reform, including “publishing the salaries of FIFA’s president and executive committee members” as well as “introducing term limits for all FIFA executives and its president, likely to be a maximum of three terms of four years” and “making FIFA responsible for integrity checks on potential executive committee members away from regional confederations and introducing a centralized ‘fit and proper person’ test,” among other things.
These are all things that are only under consideration so reformists shouldn’t get too excited just yet. As the BBC notes, the executive committee may decide that it wants to wait for a new president next year before making any kind of big reform decisions, which gives FIFA plenty of time to find new ways to embarrass itself. Blatter may push to have at least some reforms happen under his watch, though, so he can go out in a self-created blaze of glory. (Maybe FIFA will even make a movie about it, like last year’s historic bomb, United Passions.)
Meanwhile, another party is preparing for a spell on the hot seat as Nike’s FIFA-related marketing will be coming under scrutiny, as Reuters reported on Saturday.