IOC re­peat­ing FIFA’s mis­takes

World Soccer - - The World -

Any time soon, sen­tenc­ing of more than 30 of the FIFA gate flock will be­gin in New York.

A ma­jor­ity have pleaded guilty in the hope of mit­i­gat­ing their likely sen­tences by telling all they know. A hand­ful are plead­ing not guilty, and their tri­als may be used by those who ad­mit­ted bribery and cor­rup­tion to de­lay sen­tenc­ing.

Ei­ther way, what­ever emerges will cast a new pall over the world fed­er­a­tion, even though pres­i­dent Gianni In­fantino will shrug it off as a legacy of a cor­rupt old or­der. But FIFA in par­tic­u­lar, and in­ter­na­tional sport in gen­eral, can­not throw off the shack­les of scan­dal so sim­ply.

Con­sider the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee. When Sepp Blat­ter’s house of cards was blown down in May 2015, FIFA Congress was urged by IOC pres­i­dent Thomas Bach to waste no time bring­ing in a swath of gov­er­nance re­forms.

Bach’s ad­dress, de­scrib­ing how the IOC had cleaned up its act af­ter the Salt Lake City vo­terig­ging scan­dal, was un­for­tu­nately sanc­ti­mo­nious in tone. This is be­cause it now ap­pears the Olympic move­ment had not cleaned up its own act at all.

In the wake of last year’s Games there have been al­le­ga­tions about a Rus­sian dop­ing cover-up and vo­terig­ging by Rio bid bosses to win the elec­tion back in Oc­to­ber 2009.

Cyn­ics will sug­gest this proves that the vast sums of money wash­ing around high-pro­file in­ter­na­tional sport have tainted foot­ball, ath­let­ics and the rest be­yond re­demp­tion.

FIFA has no de­fence even now. The ethics com­mit­tee ap­pears to have ceased ac­tive duty ever since Hans-Joachim Eck­ert and Cor­nel Bor­bely were sacked as judge and in­quisi­tor by congress in May.

Yet, per­versely, FIFA has democra­tised its host-award sys­tem more ef­fec­tively, in prac­ti­cal terms, than the IOC. The Olympics of 2024 and 2028 have been awarded to Paris and Los An­ge­les re­spec­tively af­ter Bach and his rul­ing ca­bal sidestepped the 100- plus mem­bers of the IOC en­tirely. FIFA, by con­trast, will ask its 200plus mem­bers to vote on its next award in congress af­ter strip­ping the coun­cil of that right fol­low­ing the 2018-2022 scan­dal.

How­ever, both or­gan­i­sa­tions can­not con­tinue to side­step some long-stand­ing dis­ci­plinary is­sues.

FIFA needs to take ac­tion over Brazil­ian CBF pres­i­dent Marco Polo del Nero, in­dicted by the US DoJ but still al­lowed to run the foot­ball show in Rio. Sim­i­larly the IOC must deal with bribery al­le­ga­tions against Sheikh Ah­mad Al Fa­had Al Sabah of Kuwait, who was also forced to give up his FIFA Coun­cil post this year.

Ethics in sport should be about ac­tions, not words. FIFA and the IOC both have a long way to go.

IOC pres­i­dent... Thomas Bach

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