Thursday, April 13, 2017

FIFA: Corruption Involving 2018 & 2022 World Cup (2010-2015)

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FIFA World Cup
FIFA: Corruption Involving 2018 & 2022 World Cups (2010-2015)

              The Féderation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) was founded in 1904 in Paris, France by an assembly of secretaries from major football associations in Europe. Robert Guérin, secretary of the football department in France, was the first to take the initiative to officially start playing international games games, while they were being stalled by the English Football Association. By 1930, the association had expanded, including most of the European teams as well as a team from Africa and America, and was able to hold the first FIFA World Cup. Jules Rimet, FIFA's third president, was the one that made the World Cup and reality. By 1974, the presidency had been taken over by a Brazilian, Dr. João Havelange. Havelange set the standard for what FIFA was going to become in the future. Havelange continued expansion in the league from 16 to 24 teams creating more competition and the FIFA offices became "the hub of sporting diplomacy" (Fifa). In 1998, Joseph S. Blatter took over as the successor to Havelange and continued to expand the league. Today FIFA is made up of 211 associations under 6 confederations making it the largest sports federation in the world. Every four years, one team will be crowned the best team in the world and get to hoist the FIFA World Cup Trophy.
Joseph S. Blatter
President of FIFA Under Controversy

Case Controversy
        Over the past 5 years FIFA has found themselves to be trapped in corruption and bribery scandals. In 2010, skepticism arose after Russia, and more importantly Qatar, were granted hosts of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups respectively. Since Qatar offers some of the worst football conditions to play with in the summer, the United States FBI launched an investigation to determine how Russia and Qatar were awarded hosts. FBI agents Jared Randall and Michael Gaeta were put in charge and suspected this had something to do with bribery based on the amount of money FIFA was bringing in and the amount FIFA executive committee members were being paid. Something did not add up. Randall and Gaeta eventually got a hold of Chuck Blazer, former president of the United States Soccer Federation who later became one of the more corrupt FIFA officials. Before getting in contact with Randall and Gaeta, Blazer was fed up with his business partner, the president of the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football, Jack Warner. Warner went behind Blazers back by inviting FIFA's vice president, Mohamed bin Hammam, to a meeting involving bribes. The Qatari billionaire gave the 31 delegates that were in attendance $40,000 each to get their vote for presidency since Hammam was going to try to beat Blatter. Blazer was furious about the meeting because he did not like Qatar and in return snitched on Warner for corruptness. Blazer put himself at risk because Warner snitched right back on him. Eventually the FBI would get a hold of a beaten down Chuck Blazer and put him undercover to get more FIFA officials for bribery scandals. Following the information Blazer provided, President Joseph S. Blatter was suspended for 90 days and later resigned unexpectedly after 14 other FIFA officials were arrested and indicted for their involvement in accepting bribes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup campaigns. Months after Blatter had resigned, he spoke out and said that the United States was supposed to get to host the 2022 World Cup. French President Nicolas Sarkozy had other plans and invited the prince and ruler of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani. After he had visited, Sarkozy informed Blatter that Qatar was good to go for 2022 World Cup. Another Qatar bid employee, Phaedra Almajid, informed the FBI that she was present when Qatar's bid organization paid $1.5 million to three African executive committee members in return for their vote for Qatar. Randall and Gaeta uncovered what no one else could, FIFA's leaders sold their power (ESPN). 

          FIFA's stakeholders have been put in a predicament following the bribery scandal. Football fans across the world have now lost trust in FIFA for deceiving its fans with corruption. With the revenue they generate through TV viewership and merchandise sales, FIFA needs to patch up their relationship with its fans. FIFA's stockholder relationship with its sponsors following the scandal has been put at risk. Sponsors such as Adidas, McDonalds, and Coca-Cola do not feel comfortable being a sponsor and strongly urged FIFA to ensure independent oversight of all reforms (NY Times). FIFA also needs to gain back the trust of the players. With so much corruption, it could be possible that actually games are being fixed in some way. FIFA's priority should be to funnel out the corruption, find new leadership, and regain the trust of stakeholders.

       Individualists encourage people to be selfish and do whatever is in their best interest for themselves. Famous economist and individualist Milton Friedman stated that the only purpose of  individualism is to maximize profits for owners and stakeholders of a business as long as it abides by the law (Salazar, 17). Even though FIFA's executives acted selfishly in their best interesting by accepting bribes and individualist would view this case as unethical. The executives selfishness and corruption caused FIFA to lose roughly $200 million in just one year from 2014 to 2015. This significant loss of profit makes FIFA and its executives unethical in the acts that they committed. 

Russian & Qatari Flag
        Utilitarianism strives to keep all conscious beings that are affected by a business action happy. FIFA and its officials allowed for bribes to be made in favor of Qatar and Russia while not taking into account the feelings of the other countries who had also applied to host the World Cup. FIFA did not care about the other nine countries that had made a bid for the World Cup. Utilitarianism wants what is best for the greater good and in this case the nine countries that were snubbed make up more than Qatar, Russia, and corrupt officials. Once these countries found out about the bribes they certainly were not happy. For instance, England invested 21million in an attempt to host the world cup. Their bid and everyone else bid was worthless since the winners had already been chosen before a vote. FIFA was essentially stealing from each one of these countries since none of them were able to get their bid back. This would have been ethical if FIFA had help a fair vote where everyone was on the same playing field. Unfortunately, FIFA chose to be corrupt and accept bribes making this unethical in the eyes of a utilitarian. 

      Immanuel Kant, an eighteenth century philosopher, created his own ethical theory aimed to encourage people to make decisions based on what Kant referred to as "good will". "Only people with autonomy, freedom, rational agency, or the ability to reason, think, and act on their reasons can have good will" (Salazar, 21). To abide by Kantianism, people must not steal, cheat, lie, or use people as a mere means which goes against the formulation of humanity. The FIFA officials in this case used anyone as a mere means to get what they want. They lied, cheated, and stole from their stockholders. Chuck Blazer and Jack Warner used each other as a means to become  prominent figures in the football community. FIFA stole from every country that placed a bid for either the 2018 or 2022 World Cup, excluding Qatar and Russia. FIFA looks the most unethical under kantianism. The decisions FIFA made from 1998-2015 goes against everything kantianism preached. 

Where Vices Took FIFA Officials
Virtue Theory
          Virtue theory advises people to act with accordance to virtues instead of falling victim to vices. Vices such as greed and dishonesty “can land people in jail due to fraudulent schemes and deceptive practices” (Salazar, 23). Members of FIFA's executive committee fell temptation to their vices and in turn, put them behind bars. As an executive, it can be easier to pursue vices especially when the man in charge, Joseph S. Blatter, lives by his vices. His lack of leadership and ethics set the tone for what would become a decade full of corruption. Had the FIFA organization followed their virtues instead of vices, they would not be in the situation they are in today. FIFA failed to be courageous, failed to be honest, failed to have insight and intelligence and because of this FIFA is viewed as unethical under virtue theory. 

Action Plan
       FIFA has a lot of ground work to be done in repairing their image. After a decade long of suspected corruption and multiple bribery scandals, FIFA needs a fresh start to earn the trust back of its stakeholders. First things first, a term limit needs to be put in place for presidents and high ranking officials associated with FIFA. Having power for too long only leads to madness and that is what happened with Blatter. He got careless and and greedy by the end of his term. With the lack of ethics that FIFA displayed with Blatter at the helm and corrupt officials around him, FIFA should establish an ethics committee to watch over the organization and make sure they do not repeat the past. The ethics committee should also have some power so a checks and balances system can be put in place. No one should have too much power. A new system should be put in place to vote for countries to host the World Cup. FIFA should have a new group of voters for every World Cup that takes place. FIFA should also get voters from all around the world so there is no bias and everyone has a fair shot to win the bid. FIFA has a long way to go to gain the trust and respect from its stockholders, but with new leadership in place and corruption being flushed out of the organization, FIFA has the potential to regain that trust quickly. The World Cup is also back next year so hopefully that brings the energy and spirit back to the Federation Internationale de Football Association. 

References "History of FIFA." N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2017. "Fédération Internationale De Football Association (FIFA)." N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2017.

Buncombe, Andrew. "FIFA Corruption Scandal: FBI Probe How 2018 and 2022 World Cups Were Awarded to Russia and Qatar, Says Report." The Independent. Independent Digital News and Media, 03 June 2015. Web. 13 Apr. 2017.

Riach, James. "Sepp Blatter: Russia Was Chosen as 2018 World Cup Host before Vote." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 28 Oct. 2015. Web. 13 Apr. 2017.

Rebecca R. Ruiz, Matt Apuzzo and Sam Borden. "FIFA Corruption: Top Officials Arrested in Pre-Dawn Raid at Zurich Hotel." The New York Times. The New York Times, 03 Dec. 2015. Web. 13 Apr. 2017.

Menezes, Jack De. "Fifa Corruption: Qatar and Russia World Cup Bids under FBI Investigation following Chuck Blazer's Bribery Confession." The Independent. Independent Digital News and Media, 04 June 2015. Web. 13 Apr. 2017.

From The Mag: The FBI vs. FIFA." ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2017.

"Fifa Corruption Inquiries: Officials Arrested in Zurich." BBC News. BBC, 27 


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