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2022 Overview of FIFA: The International Governing Body of Football and its Alarming Controversies


FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football), is the world governing body of football.It was first formed in 1904, when its initial members comprised France, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. FIFA now includes 211 national associations.
(Russia is currently on suspension following that country’s armed invasion of Ukraine).

Headquartered in Switzerland, it is the overarching authority for all forms of football, including futsal and beach football.
Reporting into FIFA are six regional confederations – UEFA (Europe), CONMEMOL (South America), CONCACAF (North and Central America and the Caribbean), CAF (Africa), AFC (Asia), and Oceania.

A handful of independent states are not members of  Fédération Internationale de Football, like Monaco, the Vatican City, and the Marshall Islands. Still, none of these are significant football-playing nations.

The objectives of FIFA include growing the game internationally, making sure that it is accessible to everybody, regardless of sex, nationality, skin color, and religious or sexual orientation, and ensuring integrity and fair play.

However, FIFA is not solely responsible for determining the game’s laws. Responsibility for that lies with another body, IFAB (the International Football Association Board), FIFA is a member.


FIFA is probably best known for its role in organizing major football tournaments, principally the various World Cups at all age-group levels for men and women and the Men’s and Women’s Olympic Football competitions.

They are also responsible for the Club World Cup, an annual competition to determine the overall champions of various football confederations.

Although FIFA claims to be a non-profit organization, the sums of money generated from staging international football tournaments are enormous, and FIFA’s history does have some allegations of corruption.

For example, there have been insinuations that the award of the 2018 World Cup to Russia and this year’s tournament to Qatar was due to fixing the bidding process. Such claims were never proven, although valid questions will surface when discussions arise on its impact on the global economy.

Previously, the most lucrative World Cup in history in terms of the global economy was Brazil in 2014, which generated USD 15 billion. Qatar this year is expected to have an economic impact nearly 15 times greater.

The darkest days in FIFA history came in the early part of the 21st century.
In 2006 a British investigative journalist published a book that revealed the cash for contracts scandal involving FIFA executives, including President Sepp Blatter.
Then The International Olympic Committee revealed it launched proceedings against another FIFA executive into bribery claims.

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However, the greatest scandal occurred in May 2015, when FIFA executives in Switzerland, fourteen of them, were arrested at a hotel they were residing in on suspicion of receiving bribes worth over $100 million.
A number of them were subsequently indicted and convicted in the US on various charges, including money laundering.

FIFA President Blatter was later ejected from office and banned for his role in proceedings and has since faced further punishment for his role in another corruption scandal involving former UEFA president Michel Platini.

The current head of FIFA is the Italian-Swiss football administrator Gianni Infantino.
He has recently announced that he is standing for re-election for a third time, and indications are that he will be unopposed. There are just no other credible candidates at the moment.

That does not mean that Infantino is not free of controversy himself. There is often tension between FIFA and UEFA, the most powerful of all the football confederations, with money at the heart of the issue.

UEFA is responsible for organizing the Champions League, which has become arguably the most prestigious competition in football, at least from the viewpoint of quality, and the one that all the top players want to play in.
It is also a massive money-spinner in terms of its revenue from broadcasters and sponsors.

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FIFA would like a piece of this pie and has come up with the proposal of expanding the Club World Cup, a competition which, while taken very seriously in the Rest of the World, is primarily disregarded in Europe because it takes part in the middle of the domestic season.

If Infantino gets his way, then several top European teams would participate in the annual competition, which would hold at the end of each season. Europe and UEFA oppose this because it means more demands on elite players who get precious little rest.

Even more hotly debated, though, have been proposals by FIFA to reduce the World Cup cycle from every four to every two years.

The idea initially discarded by Saudi Arabia has been supported by other countries like those in Africa and Asia for sound economic reasons as far as they are concerned. Football associations in these nations are usually hard up.

They are dependent on their share of the money which FIFA distributes to them after a World Cup to stay afloat financially.
Holding such events more frequently helps fill national coffers.

The Europeans and South Americans implacably oppose the idea. Both have their international tournaments – the Euros and the Copa América – staged in the gap between World Cups, which they wish to protect.


The global Players Union, FIFPro, has also come out strongly against the idea because of the additional strain this will put on their members.
The president, Infantino, being a politician, has seen which way the wind is blowing. He has rowed back on the idea, arguing that FIFA explored the concept and not presented it as a concrete proposal.

That does not mean that the idea is dead – it will just lay low for now.
FIFA, and Infantino, will continue to press ahead with ideas of expanding their global footprint, but they will find themselves increasingly in conflict with the Europeans in particular.

Football in the 21st century has become a massive business, and competitors will fiercely fight for every dollar, euro, and pound.

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