I’m sick and tired of many in the soccer world taking the opportunity to laugh and celebrate the forthcoming departure of Sepp Blatter from FIFA. Yes, I’m pleased that the FIFA President will no longer be in office in six to nine months from now, but the reality is that little or nothing will change in FIFA if Sepp Blatter is the one who is personally leading the reform and finding a successor.
Blatter, along with his henchmen, cannot be trusted to reform FIFA. That’s like asking Bernie Madoff to reform the US banking industry. It’s simply not going to work.
Sure, it’s likely that Blatter will enact some changes such as term limits that will put FIFA in a more positive light and will help silence the critics, but catastrophic changes are needed within this organization to hold FIFA transparent and accountable. Instead, Blatter is likely to add more layers of bureaucracy that will only help protect his cronies.
To illustrate a perfect example of what Blatter is doing in his role of reforming FIFA, take a look at his tweet from earlier today:
— Joseph S Blatter (@SeppBlatter) June 4, 2015
Blatter is attempting to end his legacy in FIFA by doing the double — pacifying soccer fans and critics in the media, and giving the FIFA members a ‘meaningful reform’ that will result in as few changes as possible to each member country’s power while giving the outwardly appearance of big changes.
Given the pull that Blatter has within the FIFA organization, he will be able to pull it off, duping everyone and ending his legacy on what will appear to be a positive light. That is until months or years later we get frustrated with the lack of transparency and FIFA’s complete incompetence once again.
Some experts have questioned whether we need a FIFA at all. Others, such as Simon Evans, have suggested that FIFA should remove the post of Presidency, and instead elect a good, representative exco, hire a good CEO and end the ‘regimes’ and fiefdoms.
But the reality is that there will be no positive change with Blatter at the helm for the next six to nine months. And there’s unlikely to be any dramatic progress after his successor takes his position.
I believe the only way to enact real change at FIFA is to continue to pressure sponsors to remove Blatter so that the reform can be discussed, analyzed and made by people outside of Blatter’s sphere of influence. If Blatter remains in power for the next 6-9 months as he plans to do, the chances that FIFA will be reformed in the way that it should will be practically zero.
It’s time for soccer fans to become outraged that Sepp Blatter is taking charge of FIFA’s reform process. If you are, consider contacting the FIFA sponsors and ask for real change by telling them to stop supporting Sepp Blatter and FIFA with their money.
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