Do the Right Thing, No Matter the Cost

June 3, 2015

Even if you don’t follow soccer, the FIFA scandal is as gossip-rich as any soap opera, filled with bribery, racketeering, money laundering conspiracies and arrests. And like any good soap opera, the grand height before the harrowing fall was his re-election to a fifth term as president that shocked the soccer world.

I’m not perfect. Nobody’s perfect, but we will do a good job together, I’m sure … So I thank you for the trust and confidence.”

Blatter gave the world excuses rather than answers. Amid swirling chaos his words were not believable. His hubris went fully unchecked.

Blatter then blamed the U.S. and England for the FIFA arrests based on losing World Cup hosting bids.  Despite his post-election comments of trust and confidence, he claimed at his resignation that “FIFA needs a profound overhaul” and “we need deep-rooted structural change.”

The irony is that nobody’s roots ran deeper than those of Blatter.

Corruption, misdeeds, impropriety or secrets – eventually they come to light, and the proverbial buck stops with the leader in charge.

Regardless of what we’re yet to learn of Blatter’s involvement in this scandal, this we do know:

  • He could have exerted real leadership in a number of ways, including halting his re-election bid.
  • He could have taken the high road rather than make public accusations.
  • And he could have avoided lasting and possibly irreparable damage to his and FIFA’s reputation had he demonstrated clear conviction with a contrite heart.
  • He could have been the leader that FIFA desperately needed in a time of unprecedented crisis.

Instead, FIFA is forced to wait for someone to step up and demonstrate true leadership.