For those of you who aren’t into soccer, or who are only perennially interested in soccer when the world cup rolls around, and who haven’t been keeping an ear out for all the news that’s been soiling FIFA since 5/27 let me paint a quick picture.
Since the 1980s people have been asking questions about the integrity of FIFA (International Federation of Association Football) and have been throwing around accusations of corruption. In case you can’t count, that’s 35 years – 18 years longer than Sepp Blatter has been FIFA President. Members have been indicted, investigated, cleared, settled out of court, investigated again, and for 35 years it’s only ever been business as usual. Then the US Dept. of Justice arrests 7 Executive Committee members, 2 Association heads, and five senior marketing officials on 41 separate charges of money laundering, fraud, wire fraud, racketeering and more. One ESPN analyst said “the only thing missing from the indictment papers was Tony Soprano.” Then of course there is a massive fight between protecting the status quo with just enough changes to make the Social Justice Warriors like me ignore them, against those who are calling for serious overhaul and reform.
The Washington Posts Soccer Insider on twitter quipped
FIFA prez challenger Prince Ali uses the words: “transparency, inclusive, accountability.” Sepp requests translation.
— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) May 29, 2015
Now accountability is something that we in America like to talk about, especially since about 2008 or so. But it’s a tough word and it usually means one thing when applied to an individual and another when applied to an individual in a position of power, and a third thing when applied to an entity or organization.
Personally however, I think the definition used for normal, everyday people is the best one to apply across the board. Here I defer to Craig Gross who offers the best explaination I’ve ever heard in his book OPEN.
When I say well need to “get accountable,” I mean we need to live our lives out in the open, simply and easily with no fine print or legal jargon.
If FIFA is actually serious about being the organization it claims, one that’s for the game AND for the world, then people need to see sporting behavior in the office as well as in the field.