FIFA is preparing to vote with “all doubts cast aside” in two weeks time. That was the message delivered by FIFA’s president Sepp Blatter earlier in the week regarding the December 2nd vote in Zurich that will decide the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosting destinations. Blatter said that the vote was ready to “go ahead” and admitted that collusion could not be “avoided”, but prevented in the future:
Now we go ahead and [the vote] will be good. They had not enough evidence. They haven’t said it’s blanco. You cannot avoid collusion but if in such collusion there should be something wrong, then naturally somebody would intervene.
I do agree with Blatter that collusion is unavoidable. When you are talking about one vote representing so much to so many people then of course corruption and politics will become embedded in the decision. This is quite obvious and it is an unfortunate part of any executive board decision in any business. But on the other hand, to say that everything is “good” and that it will not happen again is laughable because no preventive measures have been taken by the organization to stop collusion from happening in the future.
The only reason why anyone “intervened” as Blatter referred to it was because it was discovered in an undercover operation by British newspaper reporters. It was not discovered by FIFA representatives and policed by them alone, but the entire story unfolded because of a clever sting operation setup by reporters posing as lobbyists. As I said before, Blatter is exactly right that collusion will always be involved in such lucrative voting deals, but the FIFA people have done very little to stop this from happening and have shown very little responsibilty in the way the event has transpired.
Combining two World Cup selection committees into one voting process was a bad idea heavily supported by FIFA simply because it gave corporations more opportunities to land a dual marketing deal for both Cups. Having done such a thing, it seems that it has opened up the opportunity to involve collusion into the votes even more. I don’t blame Blatter for these voting problems and acts of collusion, but (similar to the argument of instant replay) the president has said very little to admit that the problem will likely arise yet again unless some severe punishments are handed out to people and nations that are caught committing the unfair act.
Blatter is right that you cannot avoid collusion. But he is wrong for thinking it can easily be prevented.