FIFA must do more to win back trust of football fans
It’s been one year since Gianni Infantino was elected president of FIFA, world football’s governing body. The new president promised to win back the trust of football fans and reform FIFA, which had become a worldwide symbol of corruption following years of scandals and the dawn raid arrests of its senior officials in Zurich in 2015.
Transparency International and Forza Football, a football fan opinion platform with more than 3 million subscribers, just completed a snap survey of 25,000 fans from over 50 countries to find out what they think.
The message to Infantino is that more needs to be done: 53 per cent of fans still have no confidence in FIFA and only a quarter of fans globally think that Infantino has restored trust in FIFA.
This is better than in the days when former President Sepp Blatter was in charge; our poll in 2016 showed that 69 per cent of fans had no confidence in FIFA.
This year fans in Chile, Germany and the Netherlands are the most disenchanted, closely followed by fans in Ireland, Spain and the UK.
Here are more highlights from the poll:
- Only a third think that FIFA is actively working against corruption in football.
- 43 per cent of fans disapprove of Russia hosting the 2018 World Cup.
- Only 15 per cent of fans have more confidence in FIFA now, than they did during last year’s corruption scandal.
- Match fixing is the form of corruption that concerns fans the most.
FIFA’s reform agenda
The road map emphasises introducing stronger compliance mechanism at FIFA’s 211 member associations in order for them to use the US$1.25 million a year they receive from FIFA.
The next step is monitoring and evaluation. Transparency International has advocated independent oversight for FIFA. To win back trust, FIFA will need outsiders to verify proper conduct and give it the stamp of approval.
Country highlights: 38 per cent of Italians, 32 per cent of Colombians, and 31 per cent of Thais voted YES. 71 per cent of Dutch, 66 per cent of Germans, and 60 per cent of Austrians voted NO. 58 per cent of British and 45 per cent of US fans said that they do not think Infantino has restored faith.
Country highlights: 70 per cent of Germans, 65 per cent of Austrians, and 63 per cent of French do not feel that FIFA is actively working against corruption. 55 per cent of British and 45 per cent of US also voted NO. But 50 per cent of Thais, 47 per cent of South Africans, and 44 per cent of Costa Ricans believe that the organisation is doing enough.
Last year’s Transparency International and Forza Football survey found that 69 per cent of fans across the world didn’t have confidence in FIFA. This shows that, following the departure of Sepp Blatter, fewer fans distrust the organisation. But the fact that over half the fans still lack confidence in FIFA signifies there is much work to be done.
Country highlights: 25 per cent more Italians, 22 per cent more Costa Ricans, 15 per cent more US, and 8 per cent more British voters have gained confidence in FIFA now as compared to last year.
71 per cent of Chileans, 70 per cent of Germans, and 70 per cent of Dutch voters expressed they do not have confidence in FIFA this year.
57 per cent of Thais, 46 per cent of Italians, and 44 per cent of Japanese voters expressed that they do have confidence in FIFA.
Voters were allowed to choose more than one. Below are the percentage of fans that responded to each individual area.
97 per cent of fans are worried about corruption in football. Nearly three quarters of Italians are most worried about match fixing. British fans are most concerned about match fixing, too along with bribery of officials (60 per cent). 67 per cent of US fans are most worried about the bribery of officials.
Country highlights: 71 per cent of Irish, 69 per cent of Dutch, and 68 per cent of both Swedish and British voters are opposed to Russia hosting the 2018 World Cup. In the US, 47 per cent of voters disagree with the decision.
Not surprisingly, 89 per cent of Russians approve of the decision with 57 per cent of Colombians, and 56 per cent of South Africans also approving.
The poll ran from 17 February to 28 February on the Forza Football app.
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Editor's note: We added a short video to this article a few hours after publication on 2 March 2017; all other content remained unchanged.
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