(Current FIFA President Gianni Infantino)

FIFA has had a tumultuous year, with a host of scandals rocking the international nonprofit in charge of world soccer. Ousted FIFA President Sepp Blatter oversaw an organization rife with bribery, responsible for allegedly selling hosting rights for the World Cup to Qatar, which has worked as many as 1,200 migrant workers to death in brutal, slave-like conditions.

While many hoped for a bright future following Blatter’s welcome departure, the recently released Panama Papers have brought renewed scrutiny of FIFA.

The nonprofit’s offices were raided by Swiss authorities, acting on details gleaned from the leaked Mossack Fonseca documents. Gianni Infantino – current head of FIFA and former general secretary for the organization – appears to have signed a TV rights deal with two businessmen who have since been accused of bribery by US authorities.

Furthermore, Juan Pedro Damiani – a member of FIFA’s ethics committee – appears to have  provided assistance setting up offshore tax havens to Eugenio Figueredo, the former FIFA vice-president who was arrested in Switzerland last year at the request of US authorities. In the wake of the revelations, Damiani resigned.

Leadership changes can certainly change a nonprofit’s direction – but institutional cultures can be hard to break. This seems to be the case with FIFA, which sits upon the nexus of the world’s more popular – and profitable – sport. To keep FIFA true to it’s mission, continued governmental oversight of the kind shown by Swiss and US authorities is paramount.

As the investigations continue, we will have more coverage on FIFA and the revelations from the Panama Papers.


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