Duke of Cambridge speaks out on FIFA scandal

World Bank Photo Collection
File photo: Prince William

SPEAKING on last week’s arrests of FIFA officials in Zurich regarding accusations of bribery, racketeering and money-laundering worth tens of millions of dollars, the president of the Football Association (FA), Prince William, voiced his concerns ahead of the cup final at Wembley.
The Duke of Cambridge, whose English FA position is honorary and usually held by a member of the British Royal family, urged world football governing body, FIFA, to “show that it can represent the interests of fair play and put the sport first.” He added that sponsors could use their influence with FIFA to support reform.
The Duke compared the crisis surrounding FIFA to that of Salt Lake City in 2002, when the US city was bidding to host the Olympic Winter Games. Strong allegations of corruption overshadowed their bid and in the end, the International Olympic Committee was forced to reform.
He said: “There seems to be a huge disconnect between the sense of fair play that guides those playing and supporting the game, and the allegations of corruption that have long lingered around the management of the sport internationally.”
“FIFA, like the IOC, must now show that it can represent the interests of fair play and put the sport first.
“Those backing FIFA, such as sponsors and the regional confederations, must do their bit to press these reforms – we are doing football and its fans no favours if we do not.
“I have no doubt that when FIFA reforms, its mission to spread the benefits of the game to more people, especially those in developing countries, can only be enhanced.”
Speaking more generally about the state of the game, the Duke added: “We must ensure that the quality and the richness of the game at the highest levels is shared more generously at the grassroots; we must ensure that home-grown talent is better nurtured; and we must continue to kick out racism for good from our game.
“I feel we need to ensure that we become the gold standard of sporting governance. A modern, transparent and inclusive organisation – representative of the broad and diverse society who play and love our game.
“Over the next few years, if we want credibly to influence the debate on reform in FIFA, we must continue to strive for excellence in our own organisation.
“It’s not easy to do so, but it is worth it – and, to that end, I commend the process you are on, and I’ll be watching it closely.”


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