COMMENTARY: FIFA must reform or perish! 

SHARE   |   Sunday, 31 May 2015   |   By Staff Writer

It is shocking that at the height of the worst expose yet, the FIFA family has chosen to vote-in and retain the man under whom a scourge of unparalleled corruption has taken place. This is an unbelievable case of elected representatives abusing the trust placed on them to uprightly uphold ethical conduct. Botswana would do well to ask its delegates whom they voted for. After all they are delegated by this nation to exercise that privilege and high honour of serving and doing all that comes with being leaders of the national association. Tebogo Sebego and whomever he votes with for Botswana should consciously ask themselves what the country would prefer – someone who has presided over the worst corruption of the federation or someone who offered a fresh start to stop and clear the scourge of what has become a fully imbedded unethical culture. The amount of money that has corruptly exchanged hands for awards of World Cups and other related tournaments and related benefits is overwhelming for the world soccer body and those entrusted with representing the 204 member nations to choose to maintain a business as usual approach. This is simply insulting for the ethical lot of the nations they represent. There is everything wrong at FIFA. And nations should not just fold their arms and allow the national associations presidents to do as they wish, condoning greed and plunder. It is therefore not asking for too much for Sebego to disclose whom he voted for. And in future the nation should somehow have a say on whom its delegates vote for. We cannot accept a situation where continental bodies make decisions based on friendship and their own personal gains on whom the delegates should vote for. We are independent sovereign states and those sitting on Botswana chairs at FIFA Assemblies do so because they represent us. The Botswana seat is not Sebego’s. It is for all of us in Botswana and the same applies to all nations. The trust given by these nations to these members should be held with outmost care. As things stand, FIFA cannot be allowed to continue as it has been. It has to reform urgently. Otherwise member nations should vote with their feet. A new federation should be formed, away from Zurich and at some more transparent city and be anchored on very strong ethical grounds. The tendency by FIFA to make itself seem more powerful than national governments – to become an empire only accountable to itself – has contributed to this state of affairs. The current and now retained President Sepp Blatter has appeared unaccountable and much bigger some of the continents that have led to the formation of FIFA itself. We know that when national governments punish their wayward officials FIFA intervenes and arrogantly brandish the threat to suspend baton. These are things that governments who are primarily funding sport in their countries cannot stand and rightly so. We know that teams or officials who exercise their constitutional and national rights to seek court intervention where their rights are trampled upon are denied this by FIFA. This again cannot be allowed. There is need for reform and such reform should empower nations over their nationals who sit in FIFA committee. This will go a long way in protecting them from falling into corrupt traps. Otherwise, FIFA must simply close shop. Football will always be played and countries will organise themselves. The trust given to this organisation has been destroyed. Officials elected to sit in this organisation no longer have any moral ground to hold their nations at ransom. FIFA is not attractive anymore! It represents all that should not be about a well-functioning and accountable organisation.   

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