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Can FIFA change its spots?

Friday, November 21, 2014 - 02:29

FIFA has been engulfed in controversy over its refusal to disclose the full findings of a report investigating wrong-doing in recent World Cup bidding races. As David Pollard reports, transparency may not come easily to football's governing body, or to its boss, Sepp Blatter.

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The beautiful game has been revealing its uglier side. It's a plot worthy of an airport thriller. The latest twists have a FIFA whistleblower saying she's living in fear after receiving threats. FIFA boss Sepp Blatter has submitted a criminal complaint to the Swiss authorities. And Jerome Champagne is the latest to call for full disclosure of the Garcia report. The former advisor to Blatter plans to stand against him for the presidency of football's governing body. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FIFA'S PRESIDENCY CANDIDATE AND FORMER SEPP BLATTER'S COUNSELOR JEROME CHAMPAGNE SAYING: "Now, not only we have to know the content of Mr Garcia findings, but also we have now apparently a criminal investigation on the two sides, on the two shores of the Atlantic Ocean." US prosecutor Michael Garcia spent 18 months investigating World Cup bidding - and allegations of bribery by Russia and Qatar. FIFA's refusal to publish the full findings of his report sparked fury among fans - and some officials. A former UK FA chairman and the current head of the German league have spoken of a possible boycott. The problem is: full transparency may be a huge ask. Simon Chadwick is a professor of Sport Business Strategy at Coventry University Business School. SOUNDBITE (English) SIMON CHADWICK, PROFESSOR OF SPORT BUSINESS STRATEGY AND MARKETING, COVENTRY UNIVERSITY BUSINESS SCHOOL, SAYING: ''This organisation was set up during a time when we didn't have social media, big broadcasting contracts, multi-billion sponsorship deals, and I think one of the fundamental issues here now is that FIFA is arguably no longer fit for purpose.'' Reform may be difficult - especially where the interests of sponsors are involved. Though those could become a force for change if brand FIFA became too toxic. And separatism may be attractive, says former Tottenham player, Micky Hazard. SOUNDBITE (English) MICKY HAZARD, FORMER PLAYER (TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR) SAYING: ''Certainly, if the big European clubs break away, then Brazil, Argentina and the big teams from those continents, then yes, that's a great idea if you really want to stand make your point.'' That is, if Blatter is ready to listen - as he prepares to run for a fifth term as president. SOUNDBITE (English) SIMON CHADWICK, PROFESSOR OF SPORT BUSINESS STRATEGY AND MARKETING, COVENTRY UNIVERSITY BUSINESS SCHOOL, SAYING: ''Such is the politicised and highly-charged nature of the FIFA executive committee environment that it's difficult to see anybody else other than Blatter right now becoming president.'' Seventy-eight-year-old Blatter's been FIFA chief since 1998. Another term could see him notch up 21 years at the top.

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Can FIFA change its spots?

Friday, November 21, 2014 - 02:29