Reforming FIFA from the Inside Out
69 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2018
Date Written: June 13, 2018
In response to an unprecedented crisis that has been called “the World Cup of Fraud,” the Fédération Internationale de Football Associations, or “FIFA,” has undertaken a series of reform measures in the last several years. Most of these reforms have focused on attempting to break the cycle of corruption among football insiders by bringing in more outsiders, including independent chairs of several oversight committees, as well as individuals to serve in executive positions who had not previously been involved in the sport at any level. Such an outsider-focused reform strategy takes a page from the U.S. corporate governance playbook, which has increasingly come to rely upon independent directors as a way to keep management insiders aligned with shareholders.
This Article argues that rather than focusing on bringing in more outsiders, FIFA should harness the power of insiders. Although one of the most prominent witnesses in the indictment of over forty individuals and organizations became an informant only after being caught himself, many others at the international, regional, and national level voluntarily came forward. These so-called “whistleblowers” had better access to information and were more dedicated to FIFA’s mission to foster the development and growth of the sport than any outsider would be, but they often did so at great personal and professional sacrifice to themselves. By adopting a comprehensive whistleblower program, FIFA may be better able to incentivize others to step forward while providing an internal form of accountability that is currently lacking in an organization with only self-interested member associations and little government oversight.
Keywords: Fédération Internationale de Football Associations (FIFA), World Cup fraud, governance reform measures, fraud whistleblowing, accountability, outsider oversight committees, corporate governance reform
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