Photo Katie Brady (Creative Commons)

Photo Katie Brady (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Suzanne Beishon

The last Fifa corruption revelations were hardly out of the headlines when a new scandal has struck the damaged organisation – this time from the Panama Papers.

Last summer, swamped in scandal, it looked impossible for the international football governing body to find a way to clean up its obliterated reputation. Up stepped Michel Platini (president of European football organisation Uefa).

Yet immediately his credentials started to crumble. It was discovered that Sepp Blatter, former Fifa president who was at the centre of the original corruption scandal, had paid Platini two million Swiss francs, allegedly for work carried out nine years previous.

The global public backlash this provoked forced a seemingly blind Fifa ethics committee into action. His resultant ban from football for six years left a hole again.

Next in line to fill the void was Uefa general secretary Gianni Infantino – a Swiss lawyer and career sports administrator whose dirt was harder to dig up. His honeymoon hasn’t lasted long either.

The leak of the colossal Panama Papers has caught the global elite with their trousers down. The scale of their dodgy dealings, money laundering, tax evasion and more has been exposed in dramatic fashion.

And, unsurprisingly, the papers showed Infantino to have been involved in dodgy offshore World Cup deals alongside now indicted Fifa members during his time as director of legal services at Uefa.


As we’ve said previously in this paper, football doesn’t exist in a bubble. The processes and bodies in the footballing world reflect the machinations of wider society.

As football has become a global profitable marketplace, the Fifa crooks have absorbed the attitude, greed and methods of the corrupt rich leaders in world economics and politics.

Fifa reform is impossible under its own auspices. They have proved incapable of mapping out a genuine grassroots-based agenda for change. And that is because it’s not in their interest.

Like capitalism and the barbaric austerity-driven regimes across the globe it creates, Fifa needs tearing down and transforming from the bottom up to truly be a body worthy of representing and championing the people’s game.