Read few comments.
1. FIFA has been surrounded by accusation of corruption for very long time. But now, finally, we have some arrests. What has changed?
2. What kind of impact may the current situation have on FIFA and football as a global phenomenon, maybe also bearing in mind that the next two World Cups will take place in Russia, and in Qatar respectively, and both are also surrounded by some suspicions?
James M. Dorsey, Senior Fellow, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University
1. FIFA, still reluctant to clean house itself, no longer has control. The US Department of Justice with Swiss authorities in tow is now in the drivers seat and determined to eradicate corruption. The problem is FIFA and regional soccer associations suffer from two types of corruption: financial and political. The latter stems from the domination of soccer governance by political forces. The US and Swiss authorities are unlikely to tackle the political aspects.
2. It’s a bit too early to tell. The sport won’t lose in popularity. The core of the problem lies with FIFA. Qatar and Russia played the game the way it is played. Those that sought to walk a straight line like England lost out for that very reason.
Roger Pielke, Jr., Professor, Center for Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Colorado-Boulder
1. There have been many allegations over the years surrounding FIFA. While there is some new information today, the big change is that the US and Swiss governments have acted, and very forcefully. They acted because several people (Blazer and the Warner brothers) traded information about the violation of US laws for leniency from the officials. This expanded the circle of the investigation. It may expand further. This represents a major development in the annals of FIFA, and is likely to lead to changes in the organization.
2. What exact changes might occur are still very fluid. There is no doubt that these events will give motivation to those who are opposed to Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022. Will they lead to changes in FIFA? Or perhaps reconsideration of the WC 2018 and 2022? Perhaps. FIFA has weathered many storms before, but none like this.
Andrew Zimbalist, Professor, Smith College
1. The US Justice Dept has been investigating FIFA’s corruption for several years and are now prepared to act. The timing is probably also affected by the FIFA congress and the presumed re-election of Blatter.
2. I don’t think it will have any substantial impact on either the 2018 or 2022 World Cups or on the popularity of FIFA. I do believe, however, that FIFA, as an organization, will undergo important changes.