Skip to main content

FIFA More Than Jack Warner

Image result for fifa

While The Kick Project welcomes the decision to remove ex-FIFA Vice-President and head of CONCACAF, Jack Warner from any official role in the world football family, we would caution that this is not enough. While Mr Warner appears to have dragged the game through the mud in the quest for personal aggrandisement, we feel his story should not be allowed to act as a diversion nor should he be a sacrificial lamb. By all accounts, FIFA corruption goes deeper than even Mr Warner's voluminous pockets.

FIFA claims that "In his positions as a football official, he was a key player in schemes involving the offer, acceptance, and receipt of undisclosed and illegal payments, as well as other money-making schemes,"

But Mr. Warner took himself out of FIFA four years ago and resigned all his official positions. It's no surprise he is non-plussed by the ban. He is reported to have said on Facebook, "if in September 2015 (some 4 years and 5 months after) the FIFA wants to ban me for life without even a hearing then so be it." Why wasn't he sacked before? How did FIFA's ethics mechanisms miss his dark dealings?

In big organisations such as FIFA, culture is important. When things go rotten at the top, the rot spreads quickly throughout the whole body. Corrupt officials won't hire the type of people who might be concerned with ethics, for instance, and money goes to those who are compliant with the system, not those asking niggly questions. The result is that unethical behaviour gets rewarded and everything goes from bad to worse. As the old saying goes, a fish rots from the head first.

The US authorities pursuing the case against 14 FIFA officials say there's $150 million in graft money in play. A big fish indeed.

FIFA corruption appears, unfortunately, to go deeper than the higher realms where odious figures like Mr Warner dwell (dwelt).

Without cultural change at the world football body, Mr Warner's after-the-horse-has-bolted dismissal means little beyond a headline for a day or two.

When Sepp Blatter finally leaves behind FIFA, early next year (although it appears unclear that will in fact occur), the world football family may get a chance to get its game back. Returning the people's game to the grassroots, using funds from such events as the World Cup to support the game rather than the lifestyle of its officials, will hopefully be the outcome.

Unfortunately, saying good riddance to Mr Warner looks more ironic than iconic in relation to football's future. We in the football family must not allow this to be a veil to cover a lack of progress at FIFA.


Popular posts from this blog

In these times, find the joy of being human

The election of Donald J Trump as America's 45th President, confirmed in this week's inauguration, presents numerous challenges to human rights and people power.

The boorish, misogynistic, arrogant tenor of his campaign has cast a pall over the rights of minorities in America and across the globe as his "America First" call, by definition, puts everyone else second or worse. The only equality in the scenario he presents is of the George Orwell type: that of some being more equal than others.

Such a situation already exists of course. Western males wield more direct and indirect power in global terms than, say, a dark-skinned girl in a slum. Trump is hardly breaking new ground. But, his ascendancy gives that dark reality more momentum. It puts it closer to the centre of normal. His message threatens to break the positive values that link human beings to each other.

Globally, governments, civil society and civilians need to make a stand.

We need to step up to demand f…

Rohingya Football Club Program Details

The Kick Project board has now reached agreement with the Rohingya Football Club, Kuala Lumpur, to proceed with the following program. 

We are now formally raising funds for the following program, which we aim to begin in January 2016.

Phase One:

Part 1
Aim 1: Provide full playing kit for the current Rohingya Football Club (RFC) squad. This includes: shirts, shorts, socks, shin-pads, boots, goalkeeper equipment
Aim 2: Fund a single playing space for football games. This includes paying fees on a designated municipal football field.
Aim 3: Fund Transport. This includes purchasing or leasing a minivan.
Part 2
Aim 1: To establish a “Ball Library”. This will be set up as a focal point for the RFC and also for the Rohingya community, with special focus on encouraging access for Rohingya children. Appropriate education initiatives (approved by both RFC representatives and The Kick Project via the Program Management Committee) may be conducted and/or promoted in the Ball Library premises;
Aim 2: T…

Playing for Positives: How Pro Sport and Good Causes Can Work Together

Interesting read from The New Yorker on the authority and power invested in professional athletes, in relation to influencing the progress of social justice.

The focus here is on American sports, but the theme can be easily extended to other sports, worldwide.

It's perhaps no surprise perhaps that the rise of pro sports as a massive industry in its own right, with the parallel gains for individuals in money and celebrity terms, that more athletes don't speak out about important issues. There's clearly a lot at stake, and a lot to lose for those who step off the tightly managed corporate line running through most large sports organisations and clubs.

But, the fact that a large percentage of today's professional athletes come from simple backgrounds, if not from situations of outright poverty and/or abuse, begs the question of why don't more speak up about the circumstances that they escaped from and in which some of their peers in youth remain ensconced?

The Kick P…