FIFA 'fudged decision' to discipline officials, say sports PR experts

FIFA's suspension of two officials accused of corruption is unlikely to restore public faith in its secretive bidding process, sports PR experts have warned.

'Fudged decision': FIFA
'Fudged decision': FIFA
Yesterday the ethics committee of football’s global governing body suspended Nigeria’s Amos Adamu for three years and Reynald Temarii of Tahiti for 12 months after allegations in the Sunday Times.
Further bans of between two and four years were also handed our to four former executive committee members.
The action comes ahead of the vote in Zurich on 2 December to determine the hosts of the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, with England in the running to hold the 2018 event.
But sports PR experts have warned that the damage to FIFA’s international reputation may only be reversed by more fundamental action than the suspensions and fines.
‘It appears to me that FIFA has fudged the decision,’ said Eddie May, co-founder of Threepipe. ‘It has imposed fines and sanctions but has not come out and any said the individuals have done a great amount wrong.
‘The bidding process is shrouded in mystery and is suffering from a lack of credibility. FIFA needs to look again at how the whole process works as countries may be less keen to put themselves forward in future.’
Dan French, director, of Clifford French, commented: ‘Football’s governing body has gone some way to restoring its reputation at a time when bungs and undercover investigations attempt to derail the announcement. The coming weeks should be a much needed period of positive news for FIFA as they unveil the hosts of football’s biggest prize. Unfortunately, I suspect this won’t be the case.'
Prime Minister David Cameron will host FIFA vice-president Jack Warner in Zurich, Switzerland next week to rally support for England's 2018 World Cup bid, but some fear England’s bid has been badly damaged.
Steve Chisholm, partner at Fast Track, said: ‘The Sunday Times should be praised for its investigative journalism, but you would have to say it has damaged England’s 2018 bid.’
Chisholm added that FIFA’s bidding process would benefit for increased transparency, but backed the organisation over its response to the corruption allegations. ‘Decisive isn’t a term you’d ordinarily attach to FIFA, but it has acted decisively in this occasion. This was a defining moment in Sepp Blatter’s tenure and they have shown they are serious about any potential wrong-doing.’

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