LONDON, United Kingdom — The FIFA, Fédération Internationale de Football Association, is currently facing its biggest corruption accusation in its 111-year history.
But what strikes the most is that people were expecting to hear about the scandal. Few were actually startled by the accusations the FBI made on 14 executive members of FIFA in May.
The FIFA officials were accused of money laundering, racketeering and wire fraud - all of which involve enormous amounts of money.
Almost everyone knows the allegations are a big deal and the consequences can be devastating for the regulator of the international sport around the world. However, what are the consequences of the unlawful actions on those who are actually involved in the game. The FIFA motto reads “for the game, for the world,” how is money laundering for the game and for the world?
Mainly the accusations are against members of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) and the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL). Out of the 18 individuals who have been indicted, 11 belong to the CONMEBOL.
The arrests were made around ten days before the 2015 Women’s World Cup kicked off, definitely not a good timing to host a major tournament. Most of the female football players from South America do not make a living out of football. They play out of true love “for the game and for the world.” They leave their families and jobs behind to represent their countries and play the game they love.
How do women players feel when they leave everything behind for a game while the people who are supposed to develop and support it spend the money they earn from it on their own luxuries?
Fernanda Vásconez, an Ecuadorian football player at the top division of Ecuador Women’s Football, is worried about how the recent FIFA scandals will affect the financial support for women like her, especially for a country like Ecuador where the sport is at the very early stages and needs all the support possible from the governing body.
As a footballer, Vásconez feels that many FIFA officials have “failed to be honest in their work.” She fears this will affect the trust the continental confederation receives. If the organization officials at the top of the pyramid have failed, how can we trust the ones who follow?
For players like Vásconez who are striving to help support and develop women’s football in Ecuador, corruption scandals definitely affect their motivation and trust in the sports game.
But the Women’s Football World Cup recently helped “diminish the attention of the public to recent scandals,” Vásconez told Global Young Voices.
“I think FIFA should focus their attention on aspects of the game that are struggling to establish themselves in the world of football,” she said. “Women’s Football is just one of the many aspects of the game that are still in developing stages.”
Trust in FIFA not only has been scarred from the players’ perspective, but also from the fans and the different companies (and sponsors) that work alongside FIFA.
Many players agree, Vásconez being one of them, that FIFA needs a complete restructure from top to bottom. Perhaps setting a limit of terms a president can serve as the head the organization, showing more transparency in the officials’ actions and accounts, as well as including non-executive directors on the board are good first steps in rebuilding the trust of both the players and the fans.
cartoon credit: Nate Beeler/Cagle Cartoons, 2015