European Football Association questions FIFA’s decision-making
By Michael Sopow, Sports Reporter
In response to an investigation of corruption claims being released, former English Football Association (FA) chief David Bernstein has called for a boycott of the 2018 FIFA World Cup due to major ethical concerns involving the arrangement of FIFA’s bidding process.
The investigation is in response to a December 2, 2010 vote that decided Russia as the host country for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The same-day vote that Qatar would be the host country for the 2022 World Cup is also a factor.
Bernstein said in a statement to the BBC, “If I was (sic) at the FA now, I would do everything I could to encourage other nations within UEFA [European Football Association]—and there are some who would definitely be on side, others may be not—to take this line.
“At some stage, you have to walk the walk, stop talking and do something.”
The catalyst for Bernstein’s concerns is that in the released bidding report, England was criticized for repudiating rules in attempting to secure the 2018 World Cup while both Russia and Qatar were overlooked in their own possible corruption.
However, Bernstein’s claims of FIFA’s ethical manipulation are, as he stated to BBC, not independently voiced. Reinhard Rauball, politician and president of Germany’s professional football league, also publicly discouraged FIFA’s treatment of the World Cup bid report.
“As a solution, two things must happen,” Rauball told German website Kicker.de in a statement. “Not only must the decision of the ethics committee be published, but Mr. [Michael] Garcia’s bill of indictment too, so it becomes clear what the charges were and how they were judged.”
Garcia is one of the two ethics committee judges trusted in determining whether countries are morally sound in their propositions for hosting the World Cup. The other judge is Hans-Joachim Eckert, who Garcia has denounced for withholding information in his own written summary—the summary that supposedly clears Russia and Qatar. In light of all of the investigation, the UEFA has publically threatened to leave FIFA if all the information is not published.
Regarding these recent events, head coach of Douglas’ women’s soccer team Chris Laxton said, “FIFA has come under a lot of scrutiny over the past few years and rightfully so. People want them to be more transparent and more accountable, yet they seem to be going the opposite way…
“They no longer appear to have the game’s best interest at heart, but instead just want to make a lot of money for a small number of people. It is hurting the game because the sport loses credibility. I hope UEFA holds them accountable and actually stands up for the game and reminds FIFA that they don’t own the sport.”