It’s safe to say the tax justice campaigners at website The Offshore Game are not convinced FIFA is on the road to reform.
In a hard-hitting blog published today, they say: “We know FIFA is not an organisation interested in reform” and ask “Could it be that corruption within FIFA is so endemic that Blatter knows there is no chance that the organisation will elect a reforming president?”
The piece goes on to argue that talk of Blatter’s support for developing nations is “a sham”, saying that “at $5.5million per confederation, [it] is a fraction of the $33million given annually to senior FIFA staff”.
It quotes investigative journalist Andrew Jennings, who has pursued FIFA for years, who refers in his book Omerta to “barely audited multi-million dollar ‘development grants’ and access to immense quantities of World Cup tickets to sell for cash into the Black Market, frequently for secret tax-free profit”.
“Could it be,” the blog wonders, “that Blatter realises that an orderly transition, controlled by him, is far less risky than the possibility of a disorganised transition if he is carted away in a police car?”
The piece is also less than impressed with English FA chief Greg Dyke’s call for further judgement to be suspended until the Swiss investigators have done their job. “Yes,” it says, “let’s wait for the conclusions of authorities who for years tolerated FIFA, and did nothing despite mountains of evidence which showed rampant corruption and illegal behaviour. Let’s not take a leadership role, let’s put our trust in them. Is he serious?”
The conclusion is damning. “Surely FIFA as an organisation must be so discredited that it simply cannot continue,” says the blog, arguing that a whole new organisation with new staff and new rules is needed.
The Offshore Game is an offshoot of the Tax Justice Network, which has successfully contributed to changing the terms of debate on global taxation. Contributors are “a group of researchers, journalists and people involved in the sports industry who believe that sport is far too important to be the plaything of an offshore financial elite”.