Shocking Sports Scandal: FIFA Is Shown the Red Card

The FIFA scandal has backed global football into a corner: bribery, blackmail, money laundering, fraud, detainees, resignations... Since the story came to light, it has been analysed in the media on a daily basis. The involvement of directors and businessmen, the extent of the corruption, people getting rich through football, the role played by the North American and European authorities and the role of the chairman have all been discussed. "It is the most shocking scandal to hit the sporting world to date, not just because the largest and most important international football institution is involved, but also because of the fact that the scandal involved the largest corruption network to operate in the last 20 years": Sergi Cortiñas, director of the Master in Sports Journalism at UPF-IDEC.

According to Cortiñas, this case has paved the way for investigative journalism in the sports sector. "Sports journalism now has the capacity to prove that there is room for investigation. Nowadays, sports journalists have a large amount of work involving research, looking for data, checking information, making contrasts and revealing what has happened to FIFA over the last 20 years. There is no doubt about the fact that there have been no similar cases in the sporting world prior to this, because due to its gravity, it cannot be compared with other cases involving corruption or even cases involving doping."

Cortiñas is referring here to the huge amount of work being carried out by The New York Times. "It is important to bear in mind that the US Department of Justice were the ones that uncovered the scandal, when it would have been more logical if it had been a European country like Switzerland or England, where football and FIFA are much more deep rooted." Crimes that are being investigated include money laundering, bribery and illegal financial transactions, to name a few. It appears that those involved used the American financial system, and that is what gave them away. In addition, Russia and Qatar, two suspicious nominations for destinations to celebrate the World Cup, are now being called into question since the nominations might have something to do with the corruption scandal.

Cortiñas thinks that the prestige associated with football and the values attributed to sport have been affected. "I think there is still a lot to discover. There is no doubt about the fact that this will cause long-lasting damage to both FIFA and the world of football. It will take a lot of hard work for them to recover the prestige they once had." In order to achieve this, Cortiñas thinks that it is necessary to call Russia and Qatar's nominations for the World Cup into question. "Joseph Blatter's resignation and the acknowledgement that there were bribes in the World Cup in 2010 only awaken distrust even more. If they want to avoid any kind of doubt, they need to wipe the slate clean."