The uncontrolled infiltration of financial resources is seriously jeopardizing the ethics of the international football governing body FIFA. Massive corruption, canvassing and doubtful contractual agreement in FIFA has undermined the world of football and has tarnished its image at the international sport arena (Skinner 2005). There have been a number of ethical queries that have been raised over the last few years over the transparency in the management of the FIFA. This has been as a result of wide discrepancy between the top FIFA executive officials. FIFA has failed in its responsibility of ensuring that ethics governing the operations of the organization are followed to the letter. The Federation needs to take the necessary steps urgently in order to casts more light on various facts that are fundamental to various corruption scandal which has tarnished the image of FIFA and that of international football (Skinner 2005).
Business Ethics and FIFA Case
Since the era of president Havelange, FIFA has been accused of numerous unethical misconducts. The ethical issue is corruption that implicates a large segment of FIFA high profile officials. Corruption has been persistent, indeed, during the tenure of the current president, Sepp Blatter (Skinner 2005). Even though, Sepp Blatter has never been charged with any corruption accusation, he is usually accused of turning a blind eye to misdeeds in the federation which makes him a perpetrator.
The highest executive officials have been accused of awarding FIFA contracts and broadcasting rights to the companies owned by close business associates. FIFA is said to have written off a $9 million to the North American and Caribbean football Confederation, which is run by Jack Warner, a close ally of the FIFA president Sepp Blatter (Sugden 2010). The television company that is owned by Mr. Warner had also been given the exclusive broadcasting rights in the Caribbean region, for the last three world cups.
In another instance, FIFA lost an approximately $115 million as a result of the collapse of the International sport and leisure company (ISL) which was the FIFA key marketing partner since the era of president Havelange. Paradoxically, the FIFA quoted the lost figure as being only $31.9 million (Sugden 2010). These discrepancies provoked eleven FIFA executives committee of 24 to file a formal complaint against their president, in the Swiss court. After initial investigation to the loss, it appeared that the ISL had used their enormous influence and their close relationship with the FIFA, so as to embark on a massive expansion program that made the ISL financial resources be overstretched. The company had signed for an expensive TV rights from FIFA, with insufficient cash flow to pay for them (Sugden 2010).
According to the investigation report, done by British Broadcasting Company into the ISL and ISMM fraud, FIFA Vice President, Jack Warner was involved in the irregularity. The deal happened with the knowledge of the FIFA President, Sepp Blatter, who was remarkably instrumental in recommending ISL’s joint bid for the TV rights with Kirsch, a German media group (Sugden 2010).
In addition, it is claimed that Warner procured and sold the world cup tickets in the black market prior to the world cup tournament in Germany. In a dossier tabled to the FIFA executive committee by Zen-Ruffinen, who is also Secretary general to the federation, Mr. Blatter and his close associate has misappropriated more than $500 million during his presidency. Zen-Ruffinen outlined allegations of a trail of deception, illegal payment, mismanagement and cronyism against Sepp Blatter (Ennings 2011).
The dossier further alleged that Blatter was, indeed, manipulating FIFA to the benefit of his own and third parties interests. This accusation indeed caused contentious debate between those aligned to President Blatter and Zen-Ruffinen, which later led to the indefinite suspension of Zen-Ruffinen as a FIFA Secretary General (Ennings 2011). The FIFA finally gave in to pressure from the press, so as to launch an investigation to the matter. Later, Sepp Blatter suspended the appointed inquiry into the case. This was done in order to ensure that the inquiry would not issue its report before the FIFA presidential elections were concluded, since the inquiry report would have compromised Mr. Blatter bid for the presidency.
The Zen- Ruffinen report also revealed the involvement of FIFA Vice President Jack Warner who is a staunch supporter of Blatter in embezzlement of the FIFA funds. The report shows that the President constantly took decisions that were favourable to the economic interests of Jack Warner and other close business associates (Ennings 2011). The ethical issues surrounding FIFA can be traced back to the presidency of Joao Havelange, a Brazilian businessman and football administrator who is usually credited with setting up of the modern FIFA system and under whom the current President served as his deputy for many years. The Zen-Ruffinen report further indicated that Joao Havelange has essentially continued to receive benefits from unauthorized payments from FIFA treasuries (Ennings 2011). In addition, under the presidency of Havelange, a variant Brazil’s administrative and patronage system, which was credited with damaging the football of that country, was cemented into the FIFA executive administration.
President Blatter re-election was surrounded by a lot of ethical controversy. Various reports indicate that, Blatter secured his position by spreading money and other lucrative FIFA contract in the developing world through the FIFA’s goal project, which funds the construction of the playing field and training centre worldwide, in order to gain the vote from those countries (Garcia 2010).
In addition, Jack Warner and presidential candidate, Mohamed Bin Hammam were suspended from all football activity by FIFA on the day before the election, after being alleged to have offered $40,000 each to 25 members of Caribbean Football Union in return for votes by Caribbean Football Union delegates (Garcia 2010). The subsequent scandal caused Bin Hammam to abandon his presidential bid, and he stepped down, awaiting the outcome of investigation by the FIFA ethics committee. This opened the way for Sepp Blatter, the sole remaining candidate, to be re-elected, unopposed once more.
Another ethical issue of immense concern to the FIFA is impunity; the federation has been accused of supporting impunity among the top officials. The ethical committee which was given the mandate of investigating the involvement of Vice President in embezzlement of the fund had yet to report its findings (Garcia 2010). The Ethical committee gave Jack Warner an opportunity to step down from his position long before any charges could be revealed against him. His departure meant that all the procedures against him were closed, hence enabling him to depart from the Federation while acknowledged as being innocent. Even though, the fate of the remaining delegates awaits the finding of the committee, it is anticipated that their fate will not be different unless the FIFA is forced to act (Garcia 2010).
The questionable procedures, which surround the administration and awarding world cup, broadcasting rights, elections and internal fraud investigation, raise an ethical dilemma on the capability of the organization of such size to be accountable to itself (Ennings 2011). Its business ethical issues are aggravated by the fact that, in terms of the legal status under which it is registered, it cannot be covered with anticorruption rules, even though, it is answerable to anti-competition legislation. It is evidently clear that key ethical values such as transparency have not kept pace with FIFA’s modern massive expansion strategy and its locus influence (Ennings 2011).