November 18, 2011 § Leave a comment
August 29, 2011 § Leave a comment
ChangeFIFA have today formally lodged the below complaint with FIFA. Click here for the original PDF:
DATE: August 29, 2011
TO: FIFA Ethics Committee
c/o Mr. Jérôme Valcke, General Secretary
Fédération Internationale de Football Association, Zurich, Switzerland
RE: Official Complaint Calling Upon The Ethics Committee To Launch An Immediate Investigation Of Mr. Chuck Blazer
With troubling, unresolved questions hanging over yet another FIFA leader, ChangeFIFA calls upon the FIFA Ethics Committee to immediately launch an investigation and answer serious questions regarding Executive Committee Member Mr. Chuck Blazer.
The precedent of hiring an independent investigator to fully pursue allegations of impropriety in football leadership was recently set in the Caribbean regarding Mr. Warner, Mr. Bin Hammam and various members of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU). Subsequently, a number of very troubling documents and questions have surfaced in relation to Mr. Blazer, also involving money and the CFU, which merit equal treatment.
Specifically, the following questions must be addressed and answered forthwith:
1. Can FIFA explain to football’s true stakeholders, the fans and players, why Mr. Blazer allegedly received funds from a football source that he may not have been entitled to, i.e. the Caribbean Football Union?
2. Can FIFA state their position on Mr. Blazer allegedly being paid through offshore accounts?
3. If Mr. Blazer has football related offshore accounts, were those assets reported to the IRS? If not, what action will be taken by FIFA?
4. Can FIFA please explain their interest in allegedly holding the registration number of a privately owned Mercedes, i.e. ZH 627187, at their Zurich offices? If so, can FIFA allay public concerns that they were attempting to conceal this asset from the IRS?
5. Please explain FIFA football financial priorities when Bahamian players lifelong dreams of playing in World Cup qualification matches were recently ended and deemed “cost prohibitive,” while at the same time Mr. Blazer, as Treasurer of the region where the Bahamas resides, has allegedly been paid $9.6 million over the last five years via a secret 10% bonus commission on CONCACAF marketing and TV rights.
With the integrity of a senior FIFA leader called into question, and supported by relevant and material documentation, the FIFA Ethics Committee must immediately launch an independent investigation of the facts. Failure to do so, especially when FIFA have launched such investigations of FIFA leaders and officials in the Caribbean involving similar facts, can only be interpreted as alarmingly uneven justice or, worse, a conspiracy of silence when it comes to impropriety and allies of FIFAs entrenched leadership.
Whether or not the Federal Bureau of Investigation is examining these matters is wholly irrelevant. FIFA is tasked with ensuring the integrity of football and its’ leadership across the world. That duty exists and is wholly independent of law enforcement action or inaction.
For the benefit of the sport and fans alike, the FIFA era of uneven justice, endless delays, willful ignorance and forever unresolved questions must end. With great fanfare, Mr. Blatter has announced a new era of zero tolerance of corruption at FIFA, “zero tolerance for everybody, on the pitch and off it…not only for my neighbour, my friends, my colleagues, my opponents, referees, but also for presidents of associations.” With respect to the new and troubling questions now surrounding Mr. Blazer, it is either a new era at FIFA or it is not.
I must caution you that the world of football will no longer tolerate excuses from FIFA or anything other than the full facts. We await your swift response.
David W. Larkin
Co-Director & General Counsel at ChangeFIFA
Attorney-at-Law in New York, D.C. and Colorado (U.S.A.)
July 8, 2011 § Leave a comment
There is a constant theme in World Football leadership: take the money, hide what goes on and hold on to power for as long as possible, at all costs. This is wrong. Football belongs to us all, yet we are neglected and ignored by the many self-serving ‘caretakers’ of the game. Who do these people think they are? We all know who they are, they are the people who have overseen the greatest series of scandals in the history of sport.
We are ‘changeFIFA’ and we think it time for this to change. The time for transparency, accountability, shared leadership and democracy in World Football has come.
In the coming months the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) may seek a new President should Mohammed bin Hammam be found guilty of breaking FIFA financial regulations (see below link). The time is now for a NEW ERA in world football leadership.
We are asking you, football fans of Asia, to tell us who you would nominate to stand as the next reformist AFC President. When we have a clear choice, we will work to get your candidate nominated for the election once the position becomes vacant. The candidate will represent the people of Asia, genuine transparent governance and a future for the game not built on self-interest that we can all trust, respect and believe in.
We are waiting to hear your ideas on Twitter at @changeFIFA. It is time to take our game back. The revolution begins now.
- FIFA Uncovers New Evidence On Mohamed Bin Hammam (sbnation.com)
July 1, 2011 § Leave a comment
We have been awestruck by the fantastic global support for changeFIFA. Despite what FIFA would like you to believe fans, players, clubs, journalists and even some FIFA workers from all over the world have had enough of the way the game is being run. This morning we received this message and these pictures from Edgardo Obregon in Mexico, we hope you enjoy them:
“I think you will enjoy the attached photos taken today at the U17 World Cup matches between England vs Argentina and Mexico vs Panama that took in Pachuca, Mexico.
It has been raining in Mexico lately, but today it rained harder, so FIFA representatives wondering around the stadium were too wet and cold to bother to remove the banners from the many fans that wanted to get their picture taken with them.
Use the photos as you wish as it is clear that Mexican fans want changes at FIFA too. Brand awareness of @ChangeFIFA was accomplished. Over 17,000 fans attended the games.
Cheers from rainy Mexico!
Later today we will compile a post with the other fantastic images sent to us from around the world. Your support is essential and valued by us, Thank You.
May 29, 2011 § 7 Comments
We have been working with Damian Collins MP to set an agenda for FIFA reform which we have included below. We are asking members of parliaments and national assemblies to sign up to this agenda to demonstrate the growing concern about the leadership of FIFA. We will shortly be publishing the names of the first people who have signed up. If you would like to add your name in support please email Damian on firstname.lastname@example.org
INTERNATIONAL PARTNERSHIP FOR THE REFORM OF FIFA
When a global institution of great importance loses its way, it is the duty of those entrusted with its care to chart a course of correction.
When the leaders of such an organisation lack the credibility that is required to do so, a valuable function of parliaments and governments is to offer sound and independent intervention and support.
We call parliamentarians and elected representatives from all the nations of the world to register their support on this website for a complete reform of FIFA based on the principles set out below.
1. Independent scrutiny
To restore worldwide confidence in FIFA and its leadership we call for the appointment of an open, transparent and independent commission to lead an inquiry; and thereafter enact major reforms that open all FIFA proceedings to the public. We call for the immediate suspension of the FIFA Presidential elections, whether through FIFA Statute 22 or not, until all of these matters are resolved.
2. Democratic decision-making
Football belongs to all of the citizens of the world, so every FIFA member should have a right to vote on the major decisions affecting the international game, in particular the decision on where the FIFA World Cup is held.
3. Open and public governance
The football citizens of the world deserve to know exactly what, how and why decisions are made. To promote public confidence in all decision-making, especially when members’ interests are diverse, each and every decision, vote and action taken regarding international football must be open to the public as well as the actions of all officials relating to their position.
4. Shared power
The leadership of the game must regularly pass to all geographical corners of the world, never lingering in any one place for too long, for that reason there should be term limits for membership of the FIFA Executive Committee and the President should not serve for more than two terms of office.
5. Transparent Finances
The finances of international football must be open to public inspection and of detailed public account including the sources of funding. Moreover, the officers of international football should have all of their compensation (e.g. income, expenses, salaries, costs, reimbursements) made on the public record and subject to independent audit and thereafter enact major reforms that open all FIFA proceedings and FINANCES to the public..
The Case for Change
Known by many names, football, futbol, futebol or soccer is the most popular sport on the planet, with an estimated three to four billion players and fans. The love of the game burns brightly in every nation on earth. As such, the game belongs to all of the football citizens of the world and not any one organisation or person.
Today, the worldwide game of football finds itself in a severe state of crisis. FIFA, the guardian charged with bringing order and respect to the world’s most popular sport, is plagued by continuing, unaddressed and not credibly resolved revelations and allegations of corruption. From one end of the globe to another, FIFA is almost universally regarded as corrupt and has lost all credibility to lead.
At present locked in the midst of a second FIFA World Cup bid corruption crisis, we find: a full one in four members of FIFA’s senior leadership accused of either bribery or serious impropriety; two former members of that body expelled for corruption, which incredibly reduced the number of FIFA leaders voting on the World Cup; and myriad FIFA officials and associates implicated. Alarmingly, many such allegations remain unresolved. Very seriously, it now appears that through the most recent World Cup bidding process, FIFA officials may have plausibly defrauded the governments and people of: Australia, Japan, Qatar, South Korea, the United States and, perhaps, many others. The mere possibility is outrageous and can no longer be tolerated.
We have heard from FIFA that they will investigate the charges, yet how credible is any institutions investigation of itself, especially when the allegations: are far from the first; and taint such a large number of individuals who occupy the highest levels of office and have done so for many years.
FIFA has long failed to realise what institutions of integrity the world over have recognised for years: what is corrosive to public trust is not only impropriety, but also the mere appearance of impropriety. Lacking absolute financial and procedural transparency, having an incredibly tarnished reputation and having lost the faith of football citizens across the world, FIFA lack the credibility needed to handle the present crisis, whether any of the allegations are true or not.
Alarmingly, the FIFA Ethics Committee, the body tasked by FIFA to lead the internal investigation, as recently as this January witnessed the resignation of one of Germany’s most esteemed judges, Mr. Günter Hirsch. Upon resigning, Mr. Hirsch made a very troubling allegation, stating: “responsible persons in FIFA have no real interest in playing an active role in resolving, punishing and avoiding violations against ethic regulations of FIFA.” Another troubling issue is the quality and integrity of the Ethics Committee “investigations.” In the wake of even more allegations of corruption, this time involving World Cup vote collusion, the Ethics Committee appears to have deemed a mere exchange of letters a sufficient “investigation” to conclude that nothing improper occurred, leaving yet another matter essentially unresolved. Thus, the Ethics Committee and FIFA lack the credibility to lead any investigation.
As a result, there can be no doubt that both FIFA and the Ethics Committee lack the present credibility to address the wide-ranging, long-unresolved allegations that reach to very highest levels of the organisation.
May 12, 2011 § 1 Comment
World football’s governing body, FIFA, must immediately appoint a wholly independent commission of unassailable integrity to address the latest allegations of corruption and bribery that have recently arisen against a full quarter, 6 of 24, of FIFA’s Executive Committee leadership.
Allegations of “improper and unethical behaviour” were made against six members of FIFA’s Executive Committee in the British Parliament two days ago, with two of those members alleged to have received $1.5 million each in bribes from the Qatar 2022 World Cup bid in exchange for their votes.
Alarmingly, this is far from the first time that allegations of wrongdoing have plagued FIFA and the Executive Committee. Last year two Executive Committee members were suspended for corruption prior to the 2018/2022 World Cup vote, meaning that a total of eight members of FIFA’s leadership have recently been identified as potentially corrupt. More than that, the ethics of FIFA and the Executive Committee have been called into question for many years.
In light of the current FIFA Presidential campaign, FIFA urgently needs an interim commission to oversee an independent, judicial-like inquiry into these latest allegations so that they are credibly investigated and dealt with.
Both Presidential aspirants are conflicted and, like any other member of FIFA or the Executive Committee, would have little credibility in handling the present crisis. In particular, the allegations arose under Mr. Blatter’s watch and Mr. Bin Hammam faces a conflict of interest as there are allegations of bribery leveled against the his countries’ successful 2022 World Cup bid.
ChangeFIFA therefore calls on FIFA Member football associations to immediately call for and assemble an Extraordinary Congress pursuant to FIFA Statute 22 and appoint a wholly independent commission of unquestionable integrity to oversee an investigation of the allegations. With respect, neither Mr. Blatter nor Mr. Bin Hammam should be involved in the investigative process.
The international football community has lost all confidence in FIFA. As a result, the interim commission must be put in place to resolve this matter swiftly and decisively.
FIFA has long failed to realize that what is corrosive to public trust is not only impropriety, but also the mere appearance of impropriety. Because FIFA lacks absolute financial and procedural transparency, they lack the credibility needed to handle the present crisis, whether the allegations are true or not.
The only way to credibly reach the truth in this matter and, critically, restore worldwide confidence in FIFA and it’s leadership is to appoint an open, transparent and independent commission to lead the inquiry, and thereafter enact major reforms that open all FIFA proceedings (including all meetings and votes) and finances to the public and press.
March 29, 2011 § 5 Comments
ChangeFIFA Calls On FIFA And Its’ Members To Live By Their Own Credo Of “Fair Play” And Give Legendary Football Player, Elias Figueroa, The Opportunity To Run For FIFA President
Washington, D.C., U.S.A. – Tuesday, March 29, 2011 – ChangeFIFA has asked football legend, Elias Figueroa, 64, to run for President of FIFA and now calls on FIFA and its’ Members to live by their own self-professed credo of “Fair Play” and allow Mr. Figueroa to run for President.
According to FIFA’s own Fair Play Code, opponents are a necessary part of every competition and should be given the same rights and respected. It states: “Winning is without value if victory has been achieved unfairly…Fair play always has its reward, even when the game is lost. Playing fair earns respect, while cheating only brings shame…Without opponents there can be no game. Everyone has the same rights, including the right to be respected.”
ChangeFIFA calls on all FIFA Members, in the name of Fair Play, to nominate Mr. Figueroa and all other declared FIFA Presidential candidates before the March 31 deadline so that every member of the football family with a positive future vision has a fair chance to offer it before the football community.
“Mr. Figueroa is one of the greatest defenders of all time who: played in three World Cups; was South American Footballer of the Year in 1974, 1975 and 1976; and in each Chile, Uruguay and Brazil was twice player of the year. As a result, no one can possibly doubt his passion or love for the game. Being a man of the highest integrity with near matchless football credentials, and possessing positive ideas to reform the game and its’ governance, how can anyone at FIFA suggest that Mr. Figueroa does not have a right to run for President and put forward a positive agenda for change,” asked Mr. Oliver Fowler, Founder and Co-Director of ChangeFIFA.
“If FIFA denies one of its’ very own legendary players the right to stand for President, it will only prove to show that FIFA has become an exclusive and undemocratic club of an elite few who will stop at nothing to prevent their loss of privilege and power. With all my heart, I hope that is not that case,” said David Larkin, Esq., Co-Director of ChangeFIFA.
ChangeFIFA was founded several months before the recent World Cup bid decisions by Englishman Mr. Oliver Fowler and is co-directed by American and Washington, D.C. attorney Mr. David Larkin, Esq. for the sole and exclusive purpose of reforming FIFA and restoring integrity, accountability and transparency to a worldwide organization that they sadly believe no longer serves the best interests of football, its associations, leagues, players or billions of fans.
Fans should regularly check ChangeFIFA’s website for updates, articles, grass roots action plans and to contribute to the campaign should Mr. Figueroa announce his candidacy: www.ChangeFIFA.org
The Change FIFA Pledges are:
1. Democratic Decision-Making
Because the worldwide game of football belongs to all of the citizens of the world, every member of the world of football has a right to vote on decisions affecting the international game. (e.g. utilization of goal-line technology, etc.)
2. Open + Public Governance
Because every decision made regarding international football has an effect on every worldwide football association, participant and supporter, and many governments, the football citizens of the world deserve to know exactly what, how and why decisions are made. To promote public confidence in all decision-making, especially when members’ interests are diverse, each and every meeting, decision and action taken regarding international football must be open to the public. Moreover, the actions of all officials entrusted to act on behalf of international football must be open to public inspection. (e.g. meetings open to the public and press, public votes, disclosure of all international travel and meetings, soliciting and permitting public comment, publication of meeting minutes and transcripts, etc.).
3. Shared Governance
As a worldwide endeavor, the mantle of leadership of the game must regularly pass to all geographical corners of the world, never lingering in any one place for too long, to ensure that the interests of all football citizens of the world are represented. (e.g. leadership term limits, etc.)
4. Transparent Finances
The money contributed by the football supporters and associations of the world ensures the financial well-being of the worldwide game. As such, all of the football supporters of the world deserve to know where that money goes and how it is spent. Thus, all the finances of international football must be open to public inspection and of detailed public account (i.e. every dollar, euro, pound, real, peso, riyal, rupee, rand, yuan, and yen). Moreover, because the officers of international football hold a special place of privilege and trust in the world of football, and as a result should expect to be the subject of public scrutiny that might be viewed as burdensome if applied to others, all of their compensation (e.g. income, expenses, salaries, costs, reimbursements) must be made of public record and their personal finances subject to independent audit.
5. Highest Ethic Standards: Avoiding Even The Appearance of Professional or Personal Impropriety
Being an impartial referee of competing interests, both in the conduct and administration of the game, is a critical role in international football governance. Public confidence in that governance is eroded by improper conduct and conduct that creates even the appearance of impropriety. That applies to the conduct of any governing body and both the professional and personal conduct of its officials. As such, those who govern international football should have the highest ethical standards and positively act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the independence, integrity, and impartiality of international football governance, and shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety. Unquestionable impartiality and integrity must be the hallmarks of international football.