PtG Article 22.10.2010

Is FIFA scandal an own goal for Switzerland?

As world football governing body FIFA investigates allegations of corruption, some observers are asking questions about the federation’s host nation – Switzerland.

Switzerland has the prestigious honour of being the home of an array of some 50 international sporting governing bodies, including FIFA, UEFA and the IOC. Such bodies are granted tax breaks and flexible legal terms that allow them to govern their own affairs. But the latest scandal to engulf FIFA has raised questions about how to regulate the activities of such bodies that control the fortunes of so many multi-billion-franc sports. FIFA stands accused of certain members paying and receiving huge bribes to secure votes for the privilege of hosting of the World Cup. Such an activity by Fifa officials would not break Swiss anti-corruption laws because non-profit sporting entities are exempt from such legislation. Anti-corruption watchdog group Transparency International has long criticised the exemption.

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