An inside job or an outside intervention?
FIFA Ethics Committee Adjudicatory Chamber chairman Hans-Joachim Eckert said in a plenary session today about sport reform that when power and money are combined, the opportunity for corruption is rife, and those with that power and money don’t want to be controlled. Case in point: the international governing bodies for, to name a few, basketball, volleyball, golf, gymnastics, hockey, boxing, rowing, cycling, archery, baseball, softball, plus the International Olympic Committee and FIFA, are all headquartered in Switzerland. And not because it’s a picturesque country. That being said, IOC member Richard W. Pound said if the IOC could do it all again, it would not have delegated responsibility to individual sports’ international federations to determine Russian athletes’ fates at the Rio Olympics. (This sheds new light on some of the stories we coded for in our project, Jennifer Treiber Harker.) Investigative reporter Declan Hill talked about the FIFA corruption case and said we are being “aggressively naive” if we are seeing this as anything other than a criminal organization; that “sport is far too important to be left to sport officials.” (If you haven’t been following this court case, more than 40 people are charged for their connection to corruption and the awarding of media and marketing rights to soccer games throughout the world, including bribes to back Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid. The case is currently in court.)