Since I first joined FIFA in 1994, I came across many irregularities within FIFA that did not befit a global governing body of a sport loved by so many.
Listed below are the issues which not only damaged the reputation of FIFA then, but also led to the crisis in which FIFA finds itself today.
Unfair Distribution of TV Rights
Despite becoming a member of FIFA’s Media Committee in 1994, I never actually took part in the process and decision-making on the marketing and TV rights contracts. When I voiced the need for transparency in the process, all I received in return was an angry pounding on a table by former FIFA President Joao Havelange.
Korea-Japan World Cup 2002
Following the visit of the FIFA Inspection Team to Korea and Japan accessing the two countries’ capacity to host the 2002 World Cup, rumours had been rife that despite the team’s internal report stating parity between the two, FIFA pressured the team to state that Japan had outperformed Korea. The report was never released.
ISL Corruption Case
In 2011, acts of corruption were made public between former FIFA President Havelange and International Sports and Leisure (ISL), a bankrupt FIFA’s former marketing partner. It was also revealed that instead of starting an inquiry, then-Secretary General Blatter simply returned a check of CHF 1.5 million meant for Mr. Havelange to ISL after having come across it. However, the FIFA Ethics Committee concluded its investigation by simply stating that Mr. Blatter was just “clumsy.”
Visa-MasterCard Fraud Case
In 2007, the New York district court ruled against FIFA in the MasterCard case for dishonoring its incumbency rights on a World Cup sponsorship deal. Despite the loss of US $100 million to MasterCard in settlement and the gravity of the issue, Mr. Blatter only briefly mentioned the issue at the FIFA Executive Committee in 2007. Then-Marketing Director of FIFA Jerome Valcke took responsibility for the affair and was released, only to return as General Secretary six months later.