The Golden Cocoon of FIFA’s Ruling Body

July 17th, 2011  |  Source: NYT.com

 

The titans of international soccer are used to pampering. Motorcades. Police escorts. Five-star hotels. Lavish dinners. Cash allowances of $500 a day, and an additional $250 for their wives or girlfriends.

The 24 members of the executive committee of FIFA — the association that governs the global game and organizes the World Cup — form an elite all-men’s club, reaping annual salaries and bonuses of up to $300,000 in addition to their various perks. For that, they are asked to do little more than show up for a few private meetings each year to discuss rules, sanctions and legal issues and, most important, to eventually vote on which country will host the quadrennial championship.

Now this elite is under pressure like never before, with one of its own, Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar, accused of paying bribes to other lower-level association members in an effort to unseat FIFA’s longtime president, Sepp Blatter. At the same time, questions still swirl over how Russia and Qatar were chosen to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, respectively.

But the top of FIFA is such a golden sanctuary that few experts believe that the organization’s much-ballyhooed internal ethics probe of the Bin Hammam affair, scheduled for July 22 and 23 in Zurich, will lead to any fundamental changes.

“It is not democratic and governed by transparency,” said Gunter Gebauer, a sports philosophy professor from the Free University of Berlin in Germany. “It’s a male culture of giving and receiving and making favors and taking favors. It’s a culture which in some respects is the same as a gang.”

Absract only. Full article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/18/sports/soccer/18iht-fifa18.html?hp




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