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Can FIFA Fundamentally Change?

Peter Zana

Is Futbol’s Governing Body Simply a Reflection of Global Politics Today?

Today marks the ‘Start of the Comeback’ for FIFA.  As of this writing the 207 voting members are holding a second round of voting since none of the 4 (not 5) candidates received enough unifying votes Round 1.  Live Edit: Correction Gianni Infantino has won the second round of voting and therefore will become FIFA’s next President, until 2019. 

We here at isplack applaud the efforts of FIFA to address the concerns of rampant corruption within the organization.  But we, like so many, keep asking ourselves, is reform even possible or is it time to fundamentally review ALL aspects of how FIFA does business and discuss a complete redo?  The PowerPoint slide presentation complete with ClipArt graphics that FIFA has released to the media outlining the depth and breadth of coming reforms seems to oversimplify the issues it faces.  As if President’s willfully give up control, Independent Committees are empowered to have input and direction on reform, and that the money involved will somehow go completely ‘clean’.  If this election is meant to stir confidence, we here at isplack stand in the cautiously optimistic category.

Infantino is Sepp Blatter’s guy.  FIFA just voted him in sending a message that “Reform by way of more of the same” is their best bet at reform. ( Note that the voting block countries didn’t have enough confidence to vote him in on first vote, they had to be asked to vote a second time.)  But really, is that the best they can do?  4 poor choices up for election, that all have significant skeletons in their closets.  Running to lead a governing body so deeply entrenched in alleged kickbacks, bribes and favoritism scandals that it hardly seems worth reforming?  It almost feels like the state of affairs in our current national politics and the upcoming 2016 Presidential Election here in the United States doesn’t it?  There’s a lot of people that we speak to in our little network that feel as though the system is letting us down, and meaningful reform is farther away than ever.  More so that the choices offered are more about voting against someone rather than voting for someone.  Just writing that feels divisive, and yet it’s being said.

So why is it that in a sport where so much energy is spent creating cohesion and unity on the field of play they can’t seem to figure out how to attain even the slightest bit of unity off the field in its governing body? 

As we celebrate the beauty of sport, as the countries of the world stir their national pride in the wins and losses of a united National team, why is it that it turns so ugly and corrupt so quickly?  Where have all the good people gone?

We at isplack are all about creating that unity.  At our foundation is the belief that a united team can achieve far greater things than the sum of its parts.  Where could FIFA go if they were united as the teams they promote are?  What more could they be doing if they thought less of themselves and more of their team?  Is FIFA worth saving?  And is voting in a member of the status quo nothing more than a puppet state marketing ploy?  Time will tell.  But Albert Einstein said “The significant problems we face today cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.”   The ball is now in Gianni Infantino’s court.

For more intelligent discussions check out twitter feeds from a few folks far deeper entrenched in and capable of this subject matter such as Roger Pielke Jr’s @RogerPielkeJr, and Mike Goodman’s @TheM_L_G

Get Your Colors On!

Peter Zana, VP Sales