The world’s governing soccer body has vowed to clamp down on match-fixing in 2020 by working closely with local sports bodies and issuing a new best practices toolkit.
FIFA Issues Toolkit to Boost Soccer Integrity
Smarting from scandals and controversy, FIFA has managed to save face these past few years and restore the public trust in itself. Yet, corruption is still a byword for FIFA and after the 2015 scandal that saw multiple c-level executives arrested and a few others meet an untimely end – whether by their own hand or under suspicious circumstances – the world’s governing soccer body has been working painstakingly to buff a tarnished reputation up.
Undoing Match-Fixing: Wishful Thinking or Concrete Measures?
One of the most widely-spreading issues amid the organization has been match-fixing and FIFA is starting 2020 with a new attempt to clamp down on dodgy matches. A new integrity toolkit has been introduced in collaboration with FIFA’s Integrity Department that will hopefully address the organization’s biggest sore – regional and national games.
Because of the popularity of the game and the countless markets in which professional soccer operates, enhancing the integrity of the sport has been a tall challenge and omissions in that regard cannot be fully pinned on FIFA (mis)management.
Meanwhile, the toolkit compromises of different recommendations and best practices where enforcing those in practice is a matter of good will and strong, corrupt-free local sports bodies.
However, on more than one occasion, the temptation of turning a profit off a single fixed game might be stronger than preserving the integrity of the sport, especially if it is all predicated on intangible premises such as morality and honesty.
Commenting on the measures, FIFA’s Deputy Chief Legal & Compliance Officer Olivier Jaberg had this to say:
“In line with FIFA’s continued commitment to safeguard the integrity of football around the world, it is crucial that we continue to develop new and innovative resources that our stakeholders can use to further strengthen football across all areas – both on and off the pitch.”
Mr. Jaberg has expressed his hopes that with the revisited toolkit, it would be easier for national sports bodies to enforce FIFA’s professed standards of integrity. However, the main issue with this line of reasoning is again that no central and independent body would be overseeing each country’s sports leagues.
However, FIFA would not be capable of overseeing each national and regional league it has partnered with, because doing that would be a financial monstrosity.
Developing Stronger Integrity Structures
Yet, FIFA has taken its new approach and has decided to invest in these new local structures, boosting the efforts in keeping the sport free of foul play. The toolkit comes at an important time for FIFA, just when the Global Lottery Monitoring System revealed some 157 matches as possible fixes throughout its vast partner network.
More efforts are needed to boost the security of international soccer. And more important than anything else, FIFA should lead by example and avoid another high-profile scandal any time soon.