Thursday, 18 November 2010

Nigeria: FIFA punishment more like a joke

Nothing to rejoice about

Before we welcome the news that FIFA appears to be putting its house in order with the suspensions [1] of two serving executive members and four former executive members we need to review the issues at play.

Months ago, I wrote that FIFA was seemingly unaccountable and had become a law unto itself, their truculent approach to government interference especially where that intrusion was justified left many thinking FIFA was a corrupt enterprise bent to shielding their own from scrutiny.

With mounting evidence or even inconvertible fact on recorded video of executives willing to sell their votes for favouring certain countries to host the World Cup over others but presenting themselves in public as objective and incorruptible making their decisions on merit, all the FIFA bigwigs could do was provisionally suspend the culprits.

A reluctant punishment

Now that the FIFA Ethics Committee has completed their findings, these people who were about to make millions of dollars on the premise of some sports development in their countries have just been slapped on the wrist with a paltry $10,000 fines at most and a few years suspension, the maximum being four.

In effect, these corrupt people might well be back in four years’ time being smarter and wiser against agent provocateurs to vote for the hosting of World Cups in 2026 and 2030.

It goes without saying that FIFA has hardly set the example for stamping corruption out of the bidding process and one can only wonder the kind of leverage Nigeria’s Amos Adamu has within the FIFA organization to shamelessly reject the findings against him and launch a full-fledged appeal with immediate effect.

Maybe he has the dirt on them

If he has much to implicate others, this is going to be very dirty or this only indicates an acceptance of such practices except in the situation where a careless executive makes the mistake of getting caught.

FIFA in my view owes an apology to countries that that tried to clean up football but have been dissuaded with threats and expulsions, Nigeria seeing that twice already whilst the Nigerian FIFA executive member was up to disreputable activities.

It is even more saddening that of the former executive members who have been fined three come from African countries; they were definitely corrupt but it is possible that they were quite stupid to get caught but it is a lesson and one I hope FIFA executives would learn to understand.

They have an uphill task to rebuild their reputation and global confidence in the bidding process; I am however far from convinced that the current FIFA leadership has the wherewithal to bring probity, transparency, respect, honesty and honour back to the game of football.

Sources

[1] Akin: Nigeria: Questioning the FIFA hegemony

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