Because everyone else is getting in on this news story, I decided to add my own quick reaction.

As a political scientist with a keen interest in how institutional design can impact political behaviors, I’ve always found FIFA’s governing structure an interesting example on how to design a (political) system in a way that almost guarantees corruption.  Take a bunch of officials with no real (electoral) accountability, allow them to operate in a nontransparent manner, and give them control of easily lootable resources.  Sound remarkably how the Democratic Republic of the Congo is run, actually.  And we know how well that seems to be going…

So, the big picture is, even a clean out of top officials is not likely to reform FIFA corruption.  The real problem is the institutions, and after spending a semester reading and talking with students about how to establish a functioning rule of law in nascent democracies, I have some basic ideas.  Accountability and transparency needs to be reestablished, with stricter oversight by a neutral (non-FIFA paid) body.

However, considering the countries that benefit from this current system, institutional change also seems a long-shot.


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