The recent revelations about match fixing may not have surprised a lot of people, but the severity of the problem would have.
There could be a very simple reason for it; the fact that FIFA haven’t taken a more active and responsible role in stamping out corrupt elements of the game.
It’s fair to point at FIFA and look at the recent example of the World Cup votes to suggest that they are not a perfect organisation. If they can’t keep their noses clean at the very top then how can the rest of the game benefit?
FIFA came under massive criticism the last time there were World Cup bids because of revelations surrounding the fact that various countries such as Qatar may have bought bids in order to secure themselves football’s biggest tournament.
Bear in mind this is the very top, the very pinnacle of the game, the sort of thing which should be simplistic and merely routine in its practice.
There are a lot of differences between buying World Cup votes and match fixing but the point is football can’t expect FIFA to sort out a match fixing problem, when it has problems with its own basic running.
The resignation of Mohamed Bin Hammam is the perfect example. He resigned once it emerged he was effectively a corrupt official and this is someone who wanted to take the FIFA presidency away from Sepp Blatter.
Europol deserves huge credit for highlighting the extent of the match fixing problem but until FIFA gets its house in order in so many ways, there are few ways the problem can be effectively tackled unless its driven by the authorities.
Blatter himself is not without criticism because there have been several examples in the recent past where he has seemingly proven himself to be out of touch with basic elements of the game.
The classic example being the suggestion that players who are racially abused should shake hands with the people who abuse them after a match.
The only way that match fixing will be sorted out and eradicated from our great game is with clear, strong and trustable leadership from the very top, which is FIFA.
Until that point, investigative bodies are only going to discover more and more examples of match fixing which simply destroys the basic values of football and discourages fans from attending matches.
Are FIFA to blame? What do you think?
image: © World Economic Forum