A change of culture within FIFA is essential if the world football federation is to “eliminate improper conduct.”
This warning was delivered to world football’s delegates at FIFA Congress by Domenico Scala, the Swiss businessman who is chairman of the audit and compliance committee.
Scala referred only briefly to the raids, arrests and indictment undertaken by the Swiss and United States justice authorities earlier this week.
He acknowledged that FIFA had undertaken a thorough investigation – within its limits – of the 2018-2022 World Cup bid process and handed over its report to the Swiss judicial authorities.
But this was not enough. Nor was it sufficient merely to have introduced a tighter set of disciplinary and regulatory controls across the world federation.
Scala said: “FIFA has delivered an impressible list of material changes to its governance.
“However, to enact these changes across the entire football pyramid requires much more than a set of instruments, it requires the recognition that the culture needs to change to ensure that changes become part of a new dna of how the organisation and football community operates.”
This was not a corporate or institutional responsibility alone but was also the responsible of all the individuals active with the game.
Scala said: “The culture of an organisation goes to the individual level, to the ethical and moral beliefs that guide the behaviour of all of us.
“To support the change we need a culture than censures inappropriate behaviour and enforces rules vigorously, fairly and responsively. The effect is to eliminate improper conduct and passive acceptance of weaknesses in our conduct.
“It is the leaders’ tone that ensures it is embedded at all levels of the organisation. This must be honest and communicated with sincerity in both words and actions.”
He offered a set of personal guidelines including, intriguingly: “Would I be comfortable if my conduct appeared in the media?”