Blatant Corruption in Soccer Prompts Calls for Reform

By Yobel Petros ’24

Soccer’s transformation from a beloved sport to a business is grossly unjust. Despite changes, UEFA and FIFA have much too much authority and have turned soccer into a lucrative business. Soccer organizations are still rife with corruption. They are no longer organizations dedicated to the sport, but rather organizations whose primary goal is to produce money. This is evident by their previous corruption, the site of the 2022 World Cup, and the overturning of the Manchester City ban.

The latest World Cup 2022 site is the most obvious sign that soccer organizations are crooked. Qatar, a tiny desert state that has spent billions of dollars preparing for the 2022 World Cup, beat the United States in a runoff by a group of voters who had already been cut because two members were surreptitiously caught agreeing to sell their votes. It undermines the ideals and integrity of the great sport that ties the globe together, Denmark’s cultural minister, Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen, told AP of the issue. To prepare for hosting one of the world’s largest athletic events, the natural gas-rich emirate has spent tens of billions of dollars on hotels, a new transportation system, and opulent stadiums. Furthermore, as Denmark’s cultural minister remarked, Qatar is clearly not in a position to host a World Cup. Slaves are now being exploited in hot heat to construct stadiums and lodgings for the World Cup 2022, but FIFA is unconcerned since they are more concerned with the riches they will receive from Qatar.

The second reason is that the past heads of these mega-corporations have also been discovered to be corrupt. Platini (UEFA’s president) has been charged with fraud, as well as engaging in mismanagement as an accomplice and fabrication of a document. Mr. Blatter and Mr. Platini (both presidents of a major soccer organization) have been charged with fraud, misappropriation, criminal mismanagement, and forgery of a document. 

The last reason is that the ban imposed on Manchester City was reversed. Manchester City was banned from the Champions League for two seasons by UEFA in February for severe violations of FFP regulations. City was found to have inflated sponsorship revenue and break-even statistics. Manchester City’s two-year exclusion from the Champions League for a significant infringement of UEFA’s financial fair play regulations has been reversed by the court of arbitration for sport, which also cut the club’s punishment to €10 million (£9 million) from €30 million. Despite breaking the regulations, Manchester City was able to avoid a two-year suspension and a significant decrease in their penalties. Manchester City has a Middle Eastern owner who is extremely wealthy (a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family). There’s a good likelihood they were able to pay UEFA to get their suspension lifted and the punishment decreased in this case because there was no other reason for them to get their ban lifted.

You may believe that FIFA and UEFA have ceased being corrupt following the 2015 crisis that forced most of their officials to resign. True, they may have learned their lesson and returned to being lawful, as they were heavily penalized for their corruption and would not want to deal with it again. Even though most of the board members have gone, the organizations still have second hands (people still in contact with previous corrupt members). For example, due to the recent World Cup location, there is currently an inquiry against someone being someone else second-hand, thus there is a good likelihood that the board is still controlled by the folks who departed in 2015.

To summarize, UEFA and FIFA are both corrupt because of the 2022 World Cup’s location, prior scandals, and the overturning of the Manchester United suspension. As soccer enthusiasts, we should band together to boycott the current World Cup in Qatar in 2022. If we collectively stand up to UEFA and FIFA, hopefully, we will never see corruption as like did in 2015.


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