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It’s time for the US Soccer Federation to demand change in FIFA and CONCACAF

Sunil Gulati

The news of U.S. and Swiss authorities executing arrests and warrants on FIFA and CONCACAF today are shaking the sports world, and while the news is quickly changing with constant updates and information, there is one thing that we can be sure of: FIFA will be changed from this day forward. Unlike some of my fellow soccer writers, I am not seeing today’s development as the end of FIFA. It is too soon to make such pronouncements and to be honest I can see scenarios where Sepp Blatter not only survives but comes out stronger when he is reelected to his post on Friday.

However, now is a key time for the U.S. Soccer Federation to act and begin to take the moral high ground and gain more power in soccer’s governing body.

U.S. Soccer, much like its men’s national team, has never been a major power in international soccer debates. Yes, the country hosted the 1994 World Cup but in the major FIFA controversies, the federation is a smaller player than the traditional European and South American powers. During the most controversial moments of Blatter’s reign, especially in the immediate aftermath of the Russia 2018/Qatar 2022 votes, USSF behaved and did not stir up trouble in the press. The federation has never been a rabble rouser, and has traditionally hammered out disagreements behind the scenes.

“After decades of what the indictment alleges to be brazen corruption, organized international soccer needs a new start – a new chance for its governing institutions to provide honest oversight and support of a sport that is beloved across the world…” – Acting U.S. Attorney Kelly T. Currie

SEE ALSOFIFA is all about cash for votes; Here’s how it could be ended

With the FBI and US Justice Department dropping the hammer on CONCACAF, all that must change. US Soccer can no longer disassociate itself from the cause of public reform of FIFA simply because the country’s top cops are dragging current and former officials to jail. If and when Blatter survives this scandal, one would be naive not to assume USSF will suffer for something it likely is only associated with due to geography. If his regime does fall, and US Soccer stands on the sidelines, it will miss an opportunity to make a power play in a new FIFA governing body.

 

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Damned if they do and damned if they don’t, Sunil Gulati and USSF must take this opportunity to seize the mantle of reform and publicly advocate for changes in FIFA and CONCACAF. The legal authorities have done the heavy lifting of gathering evidence and openly making a case against both governing bodies, thus leaving US Soccer to make the moral case from within the sport itself.

Ironically, the U.S. can succeed where traditional power England has failed. Despite the incredible work of its national newspapers and reports detailing the scandals before and after the 2018/2022 World Cup votes, England and other UEFA members to this point had failed to force Blatter out and open the books on how those World Cups were really awarded. If USSF plays the right strategy, it can be the federation that comes in to tip the scales to true reform.

SEE ALSOCan anyone smash the Blatter system in FIFA?

Could it backfire? Absolutely. Blatter could remain in power and the U.S. would be a major pariah in his eyes, dooming the federation to no rewards of being a loyal FIFA follower. But with the soccer world quickly turning, fortune favors the bold and staying on the sidelines can have its own equally negative consequences. Now is the time for the U.S. to take a larger role in soccer moral governance and help turn the world’s most popular sport into one of the world’s most transparent sports.

 

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Pakapala

    May 27, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    USSF needs to take the moral high ground? What moral high ground exactly? Did you not see who got charged? Did you not hear who plead guilty? USSF has dirt on their hands. How are they going to take moral high ground?

  2. Flyvanescence

    May 27, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    are you kidding me? USSF needs to stand up to FIFA? USSF doesnt even govern the game here or do anything besides collect money and kowtow to the NFL owners of the MLS. No leg to stand on. Corrupt as FIFA is, it actually does its job governing the sport of soccer.

    And im not defending FIFA. Its crooked to the core. But USSF is a joke and has no moral high ground whatsoever.

  3. Rodrigo

    May 27, 2015 at 11:13 am

    First of all the United States is nobody at the Soccer World, trust me nobody cares about your opinion in this matter, it’s pretty obvious to everybody that US interests got hurt with Qatar’s designation and this is why they decided to attack FIFA, bold move indeed but it’s very likely that once this is over the United States will be disaffiliated from FIFA due your government involvment, being honest I’ll be very surprised if you won’t.

    • Kevin

      May 27, 2015 at 11:19 am

      “trust me nobody cares about your opinion in this matter…”

      What an absurd statement, Rodrigo. “Trust” you? How about we ignore you?

      THE WHOLE WORLD is applauding the U.S. Justice Department and the FBI today. Finally someone is hitting the FIFA crooks hard.

      FIFA cares very much about the US broadcast markets. It doesn’t matter that the US team is weak compared to the major powers; they want our TV money (it’s by far the biggest $$$ growth market in world football).

      You show very little understanding of what is going on here.

      • Tom

        May 27, 2015 at 12:29 pm

        In addition to huge TV contracts Kevin correctly points out, the US also is the largest source of attendees for the World Cup. FIFA is also more aware than you that growth of the game is important, and nowhere does growth have more potential for revenue generation than in the good ol’ US of A.
        To suggest that FIFA doesn’t care about the US shows you are either ignorant or fooling yourself out of fear for what soccer in the US is becoming.

    • Bergkamp_10

      May 27, 2015 at 11:42 am

      Also, doesn’t matter whose interest got hurt, it was the right thing for all of us who love this game so much. FIFA was becoming a complete and utter joke of an organization.
      Europeans were the ones who were suppose to bring the hammer down if anyone, but US acted and this will benefit all of us. People really should just give credit where credit’s due without all this nonsense about interest getting hurt and only doing for certain reasons. What the hell that has to do with anything?

    • Marcus Antonius

      May 27, 2015 at 12:48 pm

      You are a troll and a nobody.

    • Mahluf

      May 27, 2015 at 3:27 pm

      This could be the dumbest comment in the history of this website…and that is saying something.

    • KevynUK

      May 27, 2015 at 7:13 pm

      “the United States will be disaffiliated from FIFA due your government involvment [sic]”

      Clearly you have no knowledge on how FIFA statutes work regarding political regress. ‘In general, political interference is when a government tries to take direct control [of a national association].’ At no point has the US government tried to take control of the USSF. If anything, FIFA claim to be an injured party in this event under Swiss law and are co-operating.

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