Written by Shanna Kelly
The FIFA World Cup, the biggest sporting spectacle in the world, turned into one of the biggest scandals as of last week, leading some to question if soccer is not only the world’s most popular sport, but also the most corrupt.
On May 27, 14 soccer officials and marketing executives were arrested and indicted on 47 counts of wire fraud, racketeering, money laundering and more, according to justice.gov. Exposing these scandals is a necessary step in order create an ethical association for soccer.
It is hard to find a sports association clean of corruption, but the extent of these scandals is shocking. According to cnn.com, over $100 million has been accepted in bribes within the organization since the 1990s. Doubts have been casted on the defendants and administrators that allowed this to occur for over 20 years.
Suspicions were raised when Russia was awarded the 2018 World Cup and when Qatar—a country with little soccer history, and impractical temperatures reaching 124 degrees, according to abcnews.com—was awarded the 2022 World Cup. This led to U.S. investigations of FIFA regarding bribery and kickbacks.
Additionally, Qatar has no soccer infrastructure, so FIFA is comissioning the country to build all new stadiums. On top of everything, the workers building these stadiums are being mistreated; according to washingtonpost.com, the International Trade Union Confederation estimated 1,200 deaths of migrant workers.
Despite the controversy, Sepp Blatter was reelected as FIFA’s president for his fifth term. Then on Tuesday, Blatter shockingly announced his resignation amid the scandals. According to espnfc.com, Blatter said: “I cherish FIFA more than anything and I want to do only what is best for FIFA. [The] election is over but FIFA’s challenges are not.”
Blatter will hold office until a special election is held between December 2015 and March 2016.
Hopefully, this is FIFA’s first step in making internal changes to better the administration of world soccer. The recent scandals are just the beginning of the unravelling corruption. These injustices need to be revealed so that FIFA can work toward assuring professionalism on and off the field.