Ethics Struggle: Scala vs. FIFA

Erik Bernstein reputation management, sports crisis management Leave a Comment

One high-credibility individual’s word against that of a low-credibility organization

The departure of Domenico Scala appears to be evidence FIFA is  set on continuing in ways that leave room for unethical behavior to creep in. Scala is well known as the head of auditing and compliance for soccer’s organizing body, but walked away earlier this month claiming that the newly created FIFA council will have the power to decide who will run committees, including ethics and finance, along with the ability to remove those individuals at will.

BBC reports:

Scala says he is “consternated” by a decision that makes it possible for the council to “impede” investigations by either dismissing committee members or “through the threat of a dismissal”.

This, he added, “undermines a central pillar of the good governance of Fifa and destroys a substantial achievement of the reforms”.

“[This is] a wake-up call to those persons who genuinely advocated for implementing reforms,” he said.

Scala gained credibility from his position at the center of the reforms that aimed to shore up FIFA’s battered image following the scandals that led to the departure of many top officials, including former FIFA president Sepp Blatter. Although FIFA insists that the changes Scala is protesting are purely to allow the council to appoint interim members and remove those who have breached their obligations, it is now one high-credibility individual’s word against that of a low-credibility organization.

Soccer continues to reign as the most popular sport on the planet, and with its ruling body in disarray eyes are fixed on every crack. Because of this, Scala’s accusations could easily lead to a great deal of reputation damage just as the organization is trying to put things back together. If FIFA truly wants to regain the respect of fans the world over it needs to root out anything that could even give the perception of impropriety and keep its entire process transparent to the public. There is no other way to lose the stigma of inappropriate and unethical behavior gained from past behavior.

The BCM Blogging Team


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