World Soccer Commentary - FIFA and the governance of world soccer

22.11.2010

By Play the Game
EVENTS at the World Cup in South Africa and the climax to the 2018 and 2022 bidding process have proved beyond question that FIFA’s structure is no longer adequate to govern the worldwide game of association football in the 21st century.

Excerpt of commentary by Keir Radnedge, World Soccer Magazine
Full version available in World Soccer Magazine, December 2010 edition

EVENTS at the World Cup in South Africa and the climax to the 2018 and 2022 bidding process have proved beyond question that FIFA’s structure is no longer adequate to govern the worldwide game of association football in the 21st century. This is not an issue about the pyramid structure with national associations commanding a vote each in congress; that has flaws but, given the balance of numbers regionally, works more effectively and fairly than any possible alternative (of which few have ever been suggested).

Far greater concern must focus on the administrative shape of FIFA and the make-up of the governing, all-powerful executive committee. How to deal with the challenge is one further point; who should – or can - deal with it is another. Who?
Does the visionary exist, somewhere out there in the world game, to inspire his (or her) colleagues to undertake the root and branch reconstruction demanded for the sake of the reputation of world football, of FIFA and of the World Cup?

Blatter will run for re-election, for a fourth term, next year. As Mr Continuity – the man who added new rooms, wings, battlements and turrets to Joao Havelange’s edifice – he appears unlikely to lead a revolutionary insurrection.

So who else then?

Chung Mong-joon and Mohamed bin Hammam both talked earlier this past year about running for the presidency. Both then made public declarations of a change of heart, realising that such reckless talk risked serious damage to the World Cups bids of their respective home nations of South Korea and Qatar.

This would not, of course, preclude either of them from changing his mind yet again once December 2 is history.

If Blatter were under pressure how would Michel Platini react? The Frenchman had conceded that a run for FIFA president is no longer out of the question one day in the future, though he would not run against Blatter, his FIFA mentor.

Structure . . . governance . . . personal power.

The question is no longer why? But when? And who? . . . and how soon?


The article is an excerpt of Keir Radnedge’s commentary in World Soccer Magazine – December 2010 edition. The excerpt is published on Play the Game’s website with kind permission from the author

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