As the Vice Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Football for the past 8 years, this week’s deeply concerning allegations surrounding senior FIFA officials unfortunately comes as no great surprise.
The news does however beg the question – why did the Football Association (FA) decide to enter into a bidding process for the 2018 World Cup given FIFA’s longstanding reputation as a deeply corrupt organisation? It is becoming increasingly apparent to all that many of those FIFA officials involved in the squalid bidding process were compromised and we stood no chance of winning from the outset. The FA’s bid cost a considerable £19m and received a measly 2 votes, out of a possible 22, despite its obvious strength.
We should not let this latest FIFA disgrace distract us from the real challenges we still face here in England. We must continue to work hard to get our own house in order. For example the “fit and proper person” test regulating club ownership has previously been far too easily bypassed by individuals with questionable commercial track records and ethics. Government must continue to work with both the Premier and Football League to ensure they are not exposed to costly legal challenges if they do block takeovers or investment from characters we would rather not see involved in our beloved national game.