Unless you are living in a cave or on an uninhabited island far away – and, frankly, I can’t even think of another scenario that applies – then you already know of the allegations related to a massive FIFA scandal and the recent resignation of the organization’s President, Sepp Blatter. Here are four reasons why Blatter’s resignation is good news for the sport:
First, despite numerous successes experienced while holding his post, Blatter’s time at FIFA is loaded with controversy. On his watch the global entity dealt with racism, sexism, and high-profile decision-making gone awry – please see the goal-line technology topic and his subsequent apology to the England Football Association following the 2010 World Cup as an example. Controversial decision-making has been a hallmark of his tenure, and this was long before the allegations from two weeks ago. It’s smart for FIFA to move away from this litany of issues and have a fresh start.
Second, ultimately an organization’s leader is accountable for the actions of the organization itself. We may never know exactly how broad this scandal has been, but when bribery and kick-backs are running rampant through any organization – large or small – there is really no option other than cleaning house and beginning again. Blatter’s resignation represents acknowledgement on his and the organization’s behalf that improvement – honest, ethical behavior – is on the way, and that’s a message that can and will be embraced by football fans worldwide.
Third, change is often a very powerful and positive influence. The process to replace Blatter will take time – I read this morning that it may take four to six months to secure a new president – but that individual will be charged with maintaining what’s positive about FIFA while simultaneously having a fresh perspective about current events and opportunity for the sport worldwide. I’m certain he or she will be supported by credible and talented experts in their respective fields, but the change at the very top is a positive, particularly after the earlier administration was in place for 17 years.
In PR and social media, we think a great deal about the messages our clients send to their audiences. This resignation is a vital signal that FIFA takes the investigation and its ramifications seriously. Continuing with “business as usual” would have been a damaging and ultimately futile stance.
And, finally, FIFA is one of the few entities that truly connects the world and reminds us that we are, in fact, one large community. It needs to thrive. It needs to be clear of controversy and operate above board, so the faith of the global sporting community can be maintained. Blatter remaining in his post would have resulted in skeptics – from players, to managers to fans – with the masses being the most important category. By resigning, Blatter has paved the way for unreserved enthusiasm for the sport which will fuel FIFA for more vibrant years ahead.
Are you on board with Blatter’s resignation, too?