Claudio Sulser, who chairs FIFA's ethics committee has been tasked with figuring out just what exactly is going on, and has been asked by Sepp Blatter to do so "without delay." This statement may have some significant teeth in it as the vote to determine who will be hosting the next World Cup is due on 02-DEC-2010. Many have stated publicly that holding such a vote under a cloud of such malfeasance would be inappropriate. I agree with that decision.
It is no doubt heating up as we race to the finish on who will host the next Cup. For anyone who is keeping score, England, Russia, Spain & Portugal, and Holland & Belgium are in competition for the 2018 tournament, while the USA, Australia, Qatar, Japan, and Korea are the candidates for 2022.
While some have praised Sepp Blatter for his quick action to this matter, I am far more cynical. Why? Maybe it was my reading of Foul! The secret world of FIFA, or maybe the reports of open bribery that has gone on in the past, and seems to be within the very fabric of THE game itself, with little or no substantive action from FIFA.
John Leicester states it well in his AP article, "In judging votes-for-sale allegations, FIFA must act for the good of the game" where he takes a no nonsense approach. If your are found to be involved, you go. Period.
FIFA has an opportunity here, a real opportunity to show that they are serious about corruption of the game. To do so they should consider doing the following:
- Indefinitely suspend the vote on 02-DEC until Mr. Sulser's investigation is complete.
- On a finding of Bribery (section 11), Commission (section 12), Duty of disclosure (section 14), (see FIFA's code of ethics here) Summarily dismiss the members of the executive committee and any from any national associations who are involved.
- On appeal, convene the Appeal Committee to hear the appeal and mete the appropriate punishment from sections 17 and 18 of the code of ethics.
- Repeat steps 2 & 3 for all individuals involved.
- Sanction the national associations themselves possibly by the very drastic step of excluding them from hosting a World Cup for some set number of years both as punishment for those national associations, and reminder for future ones.
- Once all discipline has been publicly announced, convene an emergency session of the executive committee to allow an open vote so the world can see who will be getting the next Cup.
With this, FIFA would be able to gain a tremendous amount of credibility in showing it was serious about rooting out corruption, "For the good of the game."