The Art of Missing the Point: FIFA and the Control of Corruption
Football’s world governing body, FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association), has been beset by a range of corruption allegations. This chapter analyzes the nature of those allegations and outlines why FIFA has found it so difficult to embrace meaningful reform. We argue that traditional explanations of why corruption happens, centering on the rationality of the actors involved, have only limited utility in this case. The reforms that FIFA originally initiated reflected the fact that the organization’s leaders failed to understand the problems they faced. The patron-client networks that underpinned FIFA’s governance approach remained for the most part untouched. Only when judicial authorities from the USA and Switzerland began investigating did the logics of appropriateness that had shaped FIFA’s decision-making and internal culture begin to be seriously questioned.
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