Friday, July 16, 2010

PAUL HOFFMAN: Beneath the glow of Fifa’s untaxed empire

THE general euphoria and feelings of thankfulness following the 2010 World Cup have seemingly precluded anyone from now assessing Fifa’s role in the tournament. Gratitude for cracking the nod from Fifa to host it should not blind the South African public to the less attractive features of the World Cup — those for which Fifa is responsible.
On the field, these manifested themselves in palpable unfairness in the decision making for which Fifa’s match officials are responsible. Fifa claims they got it right 96% of the time. The problem is that when they got it wrong, they did so spectacularly. As a consequence of refereeing errors, it can be argued that England bowed out early and Mexico lost a match it could have drawn. Fifa president Sepp Blatter apologised, but whether corrective action is taken remains to be seen.

Had Fifa put in place a simple review system using modern technology, a far fairer outcome was easily achievable. There has been a chorus of criticism of the antiquated way in which the process of adjudication of the matches is still carried out 10 years into the 21st century. If Fifa does not take steps to improve this situation soon, one can expect to hear cynics claim there are murkily suspicious reasons for keeping the current system of refereeing in place.

It is, however, off the field that Fifa’s role is open to even more criticism. The process by which Fifa selects the country in which the tournament is held every four years is both opaque and unaccountable.

Full article continues here at Business Day.

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