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Is it time to reform FIFA?

Friday, June 13, 2014 - 02:59

June 13 - The World Cup is underway and there's controversy on the pitch and off, particularly surrounding the sport's governing body FIFA. As Joel Flynn reports the Switzerland-based organisation is one of the richest in the world and who runs it does matter?

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Four weeks of World Cup madness is underway. But this time events off the pitch are proving as headline making as events on it. Protests across Brazil are one distraction - so too is the future of FIFA. The Federation Internationale de Footbol Associacion has governed international soccer since 1904. And that says Simon Chadwick - a UK professor of Sports Business Strategy, is part of the problem. SOUNDBITE: Coventry University Sport Business Strategy and Marketing Professor, Simon Chadwick, saying (English): "FIFA, as an organisation, in my view, is not fit for purpose. Now it would be easy just to blame FIFA for that, but as I say, I think there are lots of institutions, lots of organisations, lots of structures in football that have simply failed to keep pace with change, and what FIFA now need to do is to take radical action." FIFA is made up of 209 national football associations, and last year reported annual revenue of nearly $1.4 billion. For the last 16 years Sepp Blatter has been its president. The 78-year-old has just vowed to seek a fifth term, promising to deal with a corruption row surrounding the 2022 Qatar World Cup. SOUNDBITE: FIFA President, Sepp Blatter, saying (English): "We must lead by example and we must listen to all voices. We must be responsible and upright in all that we do." But Blatter faces opposition from a growing number of officials, sponsors and players, who clim the organisation needs a new face. Among them is former Tottenham Hotspur defender, Chris Perry. SOUNDBITE: Former Tottenham Hotspur player, Chris Perry, saying: "I think Sepp Blatter's been there an awfully long time, there's been lots of allegations of corruption which tarnishes FIFA and tarnishes world football which isn't a good thing really." It's not the first time scandal has engulfed the organisation or Blatter himself. Allegations were made about bribes in more than one presidential election, as well as questions about the bidding process for the next two World Cups. But Commerzbank's Peter Dixon says some of what's been written should taken with a pinch of salt. SOUNDBITE: Commerzbank Chief Economist, Peter Dixon, saying (English): "I think there does appear to be a lot of evidence that he's presided over an organisation which has been involved in, how can I put this, less than optimal business practice, so I think that it's unlikely that if he were in charge of running a private company he would be able to survive the kind of pressures that he is currently being subjected to." But how can Blatter and FIFA change? SOUNDBITE: Coventry University Sport Business Strategy and Marketing Professor, Simon Chadwick, saying (English): "I think FIFA needs to look at the IOC and learn. It is possible to take these machine bureaucracies with deeply entrenched practices, with suspect governance systems, with apparently little regard for their external stakeholders and to take that and to change it and to make it into something different." Soccer is already looking to the future - as growing numbers of nations look to bid for major competitions and bring football to their respective fans. All eyes will now be on how FIFA manages that change.

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Is it time to reform FIFA?

Friday, June 13, 2014 - 02:59