18/06/2015 08:25 BST | Updated 16/06/2016 06:59 BST

Can Fifa Be About Football Again?

Fifa needs to be about football, plain and simple. It is the only organisation in the world with the power to organise global mega-tournaments and use the proceeds to support football stakeholders that matter the most - players, coaches, referees, volunteers. In order to do that it needs to be re-built. While Fifa may be unique, the principles it needs to start to live by are not. All successful global organisations embody them. They are the transparency, accountability and efficiency to deliver their mission.


Transparency is the pre-requisite to trust, and that is in very short supply in world of football right now. The first step is always to understand where you begin. That means publishing the Garcia report and using this as a starting point to build a detailed picture of the current financial situation. This needs to be tied back not just to recent decision making but also to show how income flows through the organisation, how it relates to investment and what oversight and governance exists. We need to dis-entangle the words and announcements from the data without passion and create a detailed picture of how money flows through Fifa. This has to be an external exercise free of fear or favour from the potentially guilty and the potentially innocent.


So who should be pitching for those funds and who should be managing them? Greg Dyke says that "One federation: one vote is not democracy" and he is right. Beyond this simple truth he points to the even bigger challenge of how to create independence within the governance of Fifa between those who oversee raising the funds and those who invest it through national football federations. On the one hand Fifa needs an independent board with the skills to define and manage a global fundraising effort and on the other a pioneering delivery organisation supporting the development of the game. The independent Board should oversee the political challenge of re-branding a tarnished tournament and super-charging its sister women's event. The delivery authority should be where the federations lock-in. In effect, they should start to function more like shareholders and less like stakeholders. Fifa should, in turn, make sure that national associations deliver on the projects it funds. That's accountability in action.


Accountability and transparency would actually stimulate efficiency by making the good old-fashioned "who does what" clearer, removing justifications based on 'complexity' and 'uniqueness'. They could only be brought to life with appropriate processes. We live in a consumerist society. Any service is available at the tap of the mobile phone. Service from an organisation like Fifa should be no different. Its ultimate stakeholders, football participants, should know what it is up to and what they are getting from it. Fifa needs to be driven by numbers; numbers of participants, numbers of pitches and numbers of volunteers who feel supported by its programmes and the number of times feedback is heard and acted on. Numbers; not "leaders" who claim they act for the game and who haven't put on a pair of shorts, tight or otherwise, for a long time. Any organisation that is not capable of doing that will become irrelevant. The events of the last two weeks only serve to reinforce that.

Re-claiming a passion for football

FIFA admittedly has a complex mission - developing football across the world and setting the standards for conduct, while also securing the financing to run the world's biggest sporting tournament. With 209 member states, $1bn in its reserves and 30 standing committees, FIFA is a more complicated beast than most. Yet the principles of good governance remain the same. The question is whether Fifa can take on reform or whether a new parallel organisation needs to be set up to learning from the past but not carrying its smelly trainers with it.