After what seems like an eternity, earlier this year the much maligned Sepp Blatter was, to all intents and purposes, ousted as the President of football’s world governing body. For the last 17 years, the Swiss businessman has been at the helm of the charity that runs the world’s biggest sport. During that time, hundreds of millions of dollars have changed hands between himself, the organisation, it’s members and outside parties, in deals that have been on both sides of the law.
With his current suspension from all FIFA related activities, a result of the ongoing investigation into corruption, it seems that a long awaited shift from football’s ‘dark days’ is upon us. So the time will soon come for FIFA to require a new boss. This new man or woman will be taking control of one of the largest organisations in sport and will do so with one enormous task on their hands. The new President will be tasked first and foremost, and perhaps above all else, on restoring the public’s faith in the sport they love and with cleaning up the image of it’s governing body. They will have to take charge of a ‘business’ that is seemingly rotten to the core, rife with the sort of dodgy characters you’d expect in a mob and infested with a gigantic tapeworm of deceit and lies that shifts through every corridor. Tough gig?
Let me put it this way. For 17 years, one man has held ultimate power over a franchise that is loved the entire world over. That man has caused almost irreparable damage to the organisation. Billions of people have had to ‘like it or lump it’. Now the hunt is on for somebody to fill his shoes.
Do you think this job would be hard? I don’t. Firstly, I would like to see the person filling the vacant Presidency come from the outside. FIFA does not need another Sepp. Someone from the world of football, maybe. An icon of the game that has gone on to bigger things since retiring maybe. A footballer come entrepreneur. Someone like David Beckham for example. Yes he has a team of advisers and his business ventures may not be all his own work. He will have people to do the hard graft for him and perhaps even some of the thinking, but he has a passion to take the game around the globe and a shrewd team of advisers who have never failed to keep his incredible PR machine turning. It could be someone from outside of football altogether. A Mark Zuckerberg type figure perhaps. Someone who knows how todays world works. Which levers to pull and when, as well as the reasons behind the levers. Football needs to move forward, move with the times and move into a new age where it can be run as a business to further the game’s reach. There will obviously need to be some football brains in the top positions. It’s no good running FIFA if you don’t know anything about football.
Imagine the job ad.
“Multi-million dollar organisation, seeks new President to fill vacant position. Must be experienced in high pressure roles, able to deal with intense scrutiny and have a passion for sport.
Skills required: Honesty, transparency and ability to turn down a bribe”.
Doesn’t sound too hard. Anyone in business will probably tell you that you won’t make it to the top by being nice. You have to get away with what you can and step on some toes whilst you’re doing so. Why? Any self-respecting, honest person could walk into FIFA HQ and take on that job. It’s the easiest job in the world. Nobody wants to see you fail. Nobody will call you a ‘whistleblower’ for revealing who is corrupt and what they have done. Anybody could walk into those plush offices and, providing they have a sense of decency within themselves, turn the place around. Go in and be as straight as an arrow and you will have the easiest job you could find.