Has sport been overcome by corruption?

On 26 February 2016, Gianni Infantino was elected FIFA President. With his shock election, he became the first Italian to hold the Presidency. The election followed the arrest of Sepp Blatter for his involvement in the Football World cup 2018 and 2022 corruption scandal.

Gianni Infantino didn’t have much to live up to following the events that had a disastrous impact on footballs governing body, FIFA. These events were clear breaches of FIFA’s code of ethics. However, they were not brought to our consideration until it had later escalated. In May 2015, over 4 years after the investigation had opened, seven incompetent individuals were arrested in dawn raids at a hotel in Zurich.

Those allies once relied on were now the whistle-blowers bringing his business to its knees. On the 8th October 2015, Blatter was suspended from FIFA for a ‘staggering’ 90 days while investigations into payments made to Michel Platini, a French ex-national player and coach, nicknamed the King due to his footballing ability, were conducted.

In a statement FIFA said: “The grounds for these decisions are the investigations that are being carried out by the Investigatory Chamber of the Ethics Committee.”

On 21 December, FIFA’s ethics committee rightfully banned both Blatter and Platini from football for eight years. FIFA’s appeal committee controversially upheld the suspension in February 2016 reducing it from eight years to six.

There had been various issues many of which dated back to 2008 when in the wake of the corruption case, it was reported that the general secretary of FIFA, Jérôme Valcke was alleged to have transferred $10 million that had been given to FIFA by Danny Jordan (president of the South African Football Association) to the accounts of Jack Warner (head of The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football).

However, since the changing of the FIFA president, Giovanni Vincenzo Infantino has been able to prevent the organisation from making it in the news headlines which can be viewed as an overwhelming success.

A staggering 69% of fans had lost all confidence within the organisation, and only 50% of life long fans had faith that they could restore themselves, which was deemed unlikely. When speaking to some fans about the appointment of Gianni Infantino they seemed that maybe there was potential for FIFA to restore its self in the expectations of the fans.

During the past month fans anticipation began to rise due to the 2018 group stage draw. English fanatics were pleased to see their nation drawn into Group G competing against Belgium, Tunisia and Panama in order to reach the final 16.

However, many fans will be put off from attending the world cup due to the disastrous events that unfolded at the 2016 Euros in France. The reckless behaviour from the Russian fans left multiple English fans in hospital, including Andrew Bache, who was beaten into a coma by Russian Hooligans. It will be interesting to see the reaction of FIFA in how they will find a prevention to stop these events from unfolding again.

Paul Stacey, a fan caught up in the events that took place in France stated, “I will not be risking my safety travelling out to Russia, I do not want to be caught up in the events that occurred at the last euros.” Paul will be one of the many fans that plans on abandoning their team.

When it comes to the Qatar world cup in 2022 it’s a different story. Qatar hosting the world cup? It was the most absurd decision that FIFA had made. Cameras flashing; journalist hooked by their gums, everyone had tuned in to watch the big reveal of whom would be hosting the 2022 World Cup. This was the point at which sporting fans witnessed the pictures of Blatter holding the open envelope to reveal the word ‘QATAR’, the clarification of FIFA’s corruption.

Many workers who are having to create new stadiums are risking their lives due to the treacherous conditions that lay before them. A 10-month effort to find out how Zac Cox, a Briton, was killed while building Qatar’s Khalifa stadium for the World Cup has been met with silence from the Qatari authorities and multinational building contractors. Despite officials being aware of the situation, it’s still in plan of going ahead in 2022, whilst workers risk their lives all in the name of sport.

 

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