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´Arrogant´ FIFA brought crisis on itself, says former advisor

Arrogance within FIFA has led to the ongoing corruption scandal in Zurich, according to one former advisor who always anticipated the organisation’s current troubles.

Both FIFA and UEFA presidents Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini are suspended in relation to a payment of two million Swiss Francs made to the Frenchman from FIFA in 2011.

Blatter and Platini deny any wrongdoing and have appealed the decision, while proceedings relating to acting UEFA chief Angel Maria Villar and German football legend Franz Beckenbauer are currently with FIFA’s adjudicatory chamber.

It leaves FIFA’s reputation damaged ahead of February’s presidential elections, but former advisor Michael Hershman maintains such events were always a possibility.

Former Independent Governance Committee member Hershman told Omnisport: “It was the most difficult and frustrating assignment I’ve had.

“Most assignments I’ve had to help reform governance and compliance in institutions were successful because they were under some sort of threat.

“FIFA didn’t have that threat until recently, they refused to adopt a number of key principles that are really standard practice like term limits, transparency, compensation.

“When they refused to adopt those I knew this was going to be a difficult road ahead for FIFA and we’ve seen it happen.

“There are people in decision making at FIFA that are arrogant and believe FIFA should answer to no-one, that they are above the law. That absolutely needs to change.”

Tuesday saw FIFA confirm the elections would still take place in February, although Hershman suggested a new leader may not necessarily solve the organisation’s problems.

“If they can turn this around, and it’s a big if, they must bring in someone credible as leader,” he added.

“Someone respected, someone with reasonable independence, someone who is known for integrity and supported reform – it will be a big step forward.

“But it’s only one step. They have to accept some of the recommendations proposed in the past. They have had four or five credible organisations giving them roadmap to reform, yet they still have not passed the key reforms. 

“I don’t think anyone at this point is going to trust FIFA entirely – we’re going to need to see an independent organisation or maybe even a regulatory body that goes beyond FIFA that makes these autonomous sporting organisations abide by a set of agreed principles.”

Thu 22 Oct, 2015
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