FIFA -The World Cup of Fraud

This essay will examine FIFA's procedures. FIFA corruption rumors have become more common over the last 20 or so years. "Develop the game, touch the world, and build a brighter future" is the motto of FIFA. Their methods appear to have the opposite effect. This essay will look at FIFA's intimidation of governmental entities and institutional corruption. It will also look into how this affects the creation and expansion of social capital, as well as how the poor's standard of living is affected and how the construction of new stadiums under the pressure of deadlines has led to worker fatalities. Lastly, we will investigate the organizational structure of FIFA and how this structure is corrupted. For all of these reasons, we will conclude that FIFA must change its organization and practices to satisfy the demand of the ethical principles of justice and beneficence.


According to Jennings (2006), corruption, embezzlement, and misappropriation of funds define the order of things within the FIFA's executive body. Cheques and other monies are signed for administrative senior's account numbers against FIFA's ethics and anti-corruption guidelines. Some junior employees note such illegalities but are afraid to report, as they are scared they may lose their jobs, endanger their lives or other fears.

Football (Soccer) is more than a sport; it is a passion, a way of life, a religion. It is the most participated sport for juniors in Australia (Au splay, 2016). The most viewed sporting event in the world is the final to the main game of football, which is the FIFA World Cup. The non-for profit governing body that runs the football and the world cup is Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). In the past 20 years, that governing body has been under high amounts of scrutiny for being a corrupt organisation. The Football world and the FIFA governing body were brought into the spotlight for criminal offences regarding payments made to the UEFA and FIFA officials at that time. The FIFA ethics committee brought forward information leading to the arrests of 16 FIFA officials and associates ("FIFA corruption crisis: Key questions answered", 2015). The corruption within FIFA not only concerned civilians of competition areas but it also profoundly involved the future of the sport, with the next eight years of World Cup Football reportedly sold to the highest bidder regardless of the legal and ethical processes involved (Uersfeld, 2017).

The Bidding Process

The corruption within FIFA affects society when countries bid for the world cup. The impact is due to the taxpayer's money required to be used to put together a bid. Australia's failed bid cost 45.6 million AUD, that money was spent on one single vote(Rapoza, K, 2014). The Dutch government calculated that if they were to host the world cup in 2018, it would end up costing 155 million Euros. The Dutch government noted that specific demands from FIFA were required for the bid to be allowed to be processed (LastWeekTonight, 2014). There were eight guarantees they must sign for the country to have a chance to host a world cup. Some of the safeguards are for worker rights to be suspended and new laws to protect FIFA's official sponsors. These demands are aimed at creating a financial return to FIFA (the non-making profit organisation). The Dutch government decided to withdraw from the bid due to these strict requirements from FIFA. They also recommended to the British government to do the same. The issue was with the English government that either they had not themselves budgeted for the cost of the world cup or were holding back information from the public that the world cup would also cost them in the millions to host such an event.

Case Study - Brazil 2014

The last world cup was held in Brazil, the most soccer-obsessed country in the world. The fans are among the most passionate in the world, yet there were numerous protests and massive turmoil from those fanatic fans. One of the main reasons was the cost of the event. The Brazilian government estimated the value of the world cup to be 11.83 Billion USD. This significant amount of money spent equal to roughly 61% of the education budget (Rapoza, K, 2014). The total eventually went beyond what was estimated as it rose to 15 Billion USD (Manfred, T, 2015). The financial situation for Brazil was made worse as the Brazilian government spent 15 Billion dollars on the world cup. However, FIFA only contributed 100 million USD for the world cup costs. From 2011 to 2014, FIFA profited 338 million USD. From that profit, it was estimated that 85% came directly from the world cup. However, Brazil did not receive any other bonus payments. The cost of the trophy created massive social unrest and outrage among Brazilians, as the taxpayers were the ones who paid for the world cup, not the organization. The cost of living dramatically increased in the lead up to the world cup for the government to pay for the event. The Brazilian government promised the people that all public money would be used for improving highways, subway systems, airports, and ports; however, most of it was used to build new stadiums, to comply with one of the hosting requirements. FIFA forced the relocation of 30,000 people from Rio; they were evicted from their homes and communities (Ortiz, F, 2012). The military presence was increased to help fight the rioting that was occurring outside of stadiums. The rights of were abused when constructing the stadiums by underpaying them and forcing them to work long hours (Reilly, 2013). The high cost of tickets singles handily excluded a large portion of Brazil's population, as they could not afford to attend matches (Entertainment & Arts, 2013).

Laws were altered to satisfy FIFA's requirements especially ones that would protect FIFA's revenue stream, such as the sale of alcohol being permitted. Before the world cup, it was illegal to sell alcohol in stadiums, but when FIFA and the world cup came along, that was quickly abolished to keep significant sponsors happy. They banned alcohol sales from 2km from the stadium, as lots of locals would sell alcohol outside the stadium, which leads to more people losing their only source of income and making their official sponsors Budweiser more money. Another new law that was introduced was the anti-terror law. This law prevented protests, meaning if you did protest you would get a jail sentence of 15 years. Brazil had not had a similar bill to this for over 30 years, which was when dictatorship ended. FIFA walked into Brazil, changed the country's laws to suit their needs, took most of the profits and left Brazil with empty stadiums and a giant pile of debt. A lot of FIFA's action around the organization of the world cup contradicts their mission statement. Although FIFA is claiming to 'build a better future', their corruption and greed prove otherwise.

In 2022, the World cup will be held in Qatar, which was a very controversial decision.

This world cup will cost around 200 Billion dollars with estimated 4000 construction workers to die in the process.

F. (2014). FAQ: Setting the record straight.

Retrieved from http:\/\/\/mm\/document\/tournament\/competition\/02\/36\/32\/63\/faq_en_neutral.pdf

Organizational Structure

The harms and injustices caused by FIFA stem from systematic failures in their organisation. Their issues with corruption are not dissimilar to those of the IOC. In fact, they are remarkably similar. Like the IOC FIFA lacks external regulation, they operate under their own rules and force rules onto hosting countries (Roth, 2017). Like the IOC, if FIFA wishes to fix its practices they must correct the systematic failures in their organisation.

First, we can explore the process in which FIFA world cup host countries are selected. FIFA has 209 member nations. Each of these countries is entitled to one vote, and each vote is of equal power, This means that a member nation such as Montserrat which has a population of 5,125 has the same power as America. Small countries member such as Montserrat have fewer stakeholders and officials which makes them more susceptible to bribery (Bialik, 2015). Not only are smaller nations vulnerable to corruption but they also receive money that is 'above board' that they are often reliant on. This can be manipulated through tactics such those employed by Sepp Blatter before his re-election as President of FIFA whereby he announced higher world cup bonuses for member nations (Bialik, 2015). Smaller nations can also rely on Financial Assistance Programs (FAP) that FIFA can provide. This FAP can be used for a wide range of soccer-related activities. A member nation such as Montserrat received $1.8 million for its tiny population, whereas China received $3 million in FAP. This is legal. There is nothing wrong with this, but FAP which can have substantial influence over smaller nations should be monitored closely. There is currently no external regulation of these processes. In fact, FIFA has almost no independent management (Pieth, 2011).

In 2011 FIFA realised a report titled 'Governing FIFA'. The report completed by Dr Mark Pieth aimed to investigate existing governance structure and suggest recommendations for its amendments if necessary. The report concluded with recommendations regarding the procedures and regulation of FIFA. At an organisational level FIFA needs to elect independent members to its executive board (Pieth, 2011). The current executive board are active footballing officials with vested interests in their regions/countries. The addition of independent executive committee members should negate the conflict of interest other members hold (Pieth, 2011). Furthermore, the audit committee, ethics committee and disciplinary committee all need to be separated from the administration and act independently (Pieth, 2011). This should remove the conflict of interest and decrease the likelihood of corruption. There also needs to be regulation of FAP and oversight in matters of conflict of interest. This could be undertaken by an independent external committee (Pieth, 2011). As for the presidential powers of the governing body, limiting the maximum time an official can be president should also be considered (Pieth, 2011). The Presidential powers as they stand have a great deal of executive power and responsibility. The designation of a 'lead director' who has the power to convene meetings of the board of directors could mitigate some of the skills the President holds (Pieth, 2011).

These recommendations all relate to increasing transparency and independent regulation of FIFA. Dye and Stapenhurst (1998) outline the importance of independent oversight into organisations. They state that independent watchdogs are of great significance in ruling out corruption (Dye and Stapenhurst, 1998). It is through these changes in governance structure that FIFA can satisfy the demand of ethical principles of justice and beneficence.


For the past 20 years, there have been frequent rumours that FIFA, which is a non-profit-making organisation, is corrupt. The paper has examined the implications of this on social capital growth efficiently. The article suggests that there should be a change in the organizational structure of FIFA so as for justice to prevail. The bidding process is discussed in detail and is described as a very corrupt process, and this has a negative impact on the society. Brazil is used as a case study since that is where the last world cup took place in 2014. Brazil, however, suffered the increased cost of living as a result since the government had to cater to the value of the event and the income generated from hosting a world cup used to build new stadiums and not on improving highways and ports as the government had promised.

The corruption issues facing FIFA are similar to those facing IOC in that they both lack external regulation and operate by their own set of rules. FIFA should consider fixing the organization's systematic failures as a way of rectifying its practices. The suggested ways of doing this are efficient, and they include making sure that the selection criteria of the world cup hosts are free and fair. They should consider electing independent members to be part of the executive board to negate the conflict of interest and reduce chances of corruption. An independent external body should be involved in the regulation of FAP besides they should revise the maximum number of years that one can be the president of FIFA. I am concluding that when these proposals are taken into consideration, then sanity will automatically be restored in FIFA.


Bialik, C. (2015). How FIFA’s Structure Lends Itself To Corruption. FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved 20 October 2017, from  

Pielke, R. A. (2013). How can FIFA be held accountable? Elsevier. Rapoza, K. (2014, June 11).

Bringing FIFA to Brazil Equal to Roughly 61% of Education Budget. Retrieved from -education-budget/#b58475f36d62

Raspaud, M., & Bastos, F. D. (2013, 03). Torcedores de futebol: Violence and public policies in Brazil before the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Sport in Society, 16(2), 192-204. doi:10.1080/17430437.2013.776251

Will 2014 World Cup Take Football from Brazil’s Masses? (n.d.). Retrieved from

Dye, K. M., & Stapenhurst, R. (1998). Pillars of integrity: the importance of supreme audit institutions in curbing corruption. Washington, DC: Economic Development Institute of the World Bank.Roth, M. (2017). The IOC’s True Ideals: Corruption and Greed. FloTrack. Retrieved 20 October 2017, from Pieth, M. (2011). Governing FIFA. Universitat Basel. Retrieved from

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