Saving Football, Not FIFA

MJ Chung

FIFA’s upcoming presidential election has already begun to lose its legitimacy. An election that is unable to bring about meaningful reforms would jeopardize FIFA’s very existence.

In 1998, FIFA held its first presidential election in 24 years. However, it was marred by allegations of election fraud. As this upcoming election is FIFA’s first de facto election in almost 20 years, the concern that FIFA has forgotten how to even hold an election is serious.

In this era of reform and openness, FIFA still operates under the shadow of secrecy and corruption. FIFA, although located in the heart of democratic Europe, persists in its anachronistic ways.

Under current circumstances, even if FIFA does follow through with the presidential election next year, meaningful reforms cannot be expected. FIFA’s culture of corruption cannot be uprooted just by changing the president and amending a few regulations. In contrast, FIFA’s self-contradiction will only deepen, disappointing football fans around the globe and precipitating an even greater crisis. Perhaps it is no longer possible to bring about legitimate change from within FIFA.

By imposing unjust sanctions against me, the FIFA Ethics Committee is telling me to stay away from FIFA. That is not a problem. I always believed that the FIFA presidency is merely a position of service, not power. However, I will find other ways to serve. I believe that the true way to serve FIFA is by continuing to speak out against FIFA’s hypocritical system.

To prevent future corruptions, thorough investigations of past corruptions must be carried out and culprits must be punished. President Blatter must be brought to justice. Blatter has evaded responsibility for the 2006 VISA-MasterCard Sponsorship Rights case, which was settled by FIFA paying MasterCard USD 90 million. President Blatter and Mr. Jerome Valcke, then marketing director of FIFA, should have paid the USD 90 million, not FIFA. I plan to sue Mr. Blatter after checking the statute of limitations on this case. President Blatter’s salary paid by FIFA without the Executive Committee’s approval is another case for potential lawsuit.

I look forward to working hand-in-hand with all those who love football around the world to revitalize football, not FIFA, as the source of “hope and inspiration.”