Corruption in soccer, continued

May 31, 2015

A range of perspectives. 

1. The US isn’t immune to this kind of thing. In fact, we’re pretty bad at it, we got caught:

In 1998, several International Olympic Committee members were forced to resign after it was uncovered that they had accepted bribes from Salt Lake Bid Committee co-heads Tom Welch and Dave Johnson in return for voting for Salt Lake City to hold the Games.

2. One solution to FIFA’s deep-seated corruption is a breakaway of Europe (UEFA), possibly with South America and the US. They have virtually all of the good teams and the bulk of World Cup revenue. It’s a great application of game theory, remind me to ask Adam Brandenburger about it.

3. The most likely outcome is that FIFA will continue to muddle along. With one-country one-vote, it’s not hard to get a coalition of “have-nots” to beat the “elites.” Joe Foudy notes that you don’t need bribes for this. You can do it with pork barrel politics, with FIFA paying for stadiums in poor countries. I have mixed feelings about this comment, but it makes the point in an interesting way:

Well-meaning people often think that on our menu is both a more inclusive and less corrupt society. But unfortunately, our choices in real life are more likely to be either a more inclusive and less unequal society with greater corruption, or an autocratic, elite-run society with less corruption.

And it’s true, the inclusive organizations seem prone to corruption and excess. The IOC continues to struggle with bribesperks. As does the UN.


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