The purpose of this paper is to discuss the institutional background and the incentive for FIFA executives to engage in corrupt activities. The authors also highlight recent FIFA scandals and discuss approaches that may affect FIFA’s corruption in the future.
The authors approach this subject through a historical narrative. The authors review the literature on corruption and apply these findings to the FIFA organization. Due to many similarities, the authors are able to juxtapose the successes and failures of the Olympics, and apply these findings to FIFA.
Based on the examination, the authors find that FIFA’s corruption can be mitigated, but it is a very difficult task to accomplish. The US Department of Justice has helped to jump start a corruption reform in FIFA. This has also facilitated the activities of the FIFA ethics committee. However, only time will tell whether these changes will be meaningful and last.
The contribution is that the authors closely link the sports management and economics literature on corruption using FIFA as the subject of analysis. Because of the recent FIFA scandal, the authors are able to update the corruption literature as it applies to this organization and, more generally, in sports.
The authors would like to thank thoughtful comments from two anonymous referees, William F. Shughart II, and Han Donker. Any remaining errors are the author’s own. Tragically, the authors lost R. Morris Coats as they were writing this paper in December 2015. His contribution to economics as a scholar, teacher, and mentor is admirable, and he will be missed by us all.
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