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Once Credibility is Gone, NGBs Need to Struggle to get Back into Good Graces

22 Mar, 2017

By: Michael Popke
Corruption Casts a Long Shadow and Regaining Trust is an Uphill Battle

Nearly every single one of the recently surveyed 25,000 soccer fans from 50 countries is concerned about corruption at FIFA, the sport’s international governing body. The survey, conducted by opinion platform Forza Football, found that 98 percent of respondents remain suspicious of FIFA under new president Gianni Infantino. Meanwhile, only 26 percent think Infantino has restored trust in the organization.

Infantino was elected a year ago to replace disgraced Sepp Blatter amid charges of mass corruption and criminal indictments.

According to The Guardian:

More than half of the survey respondents, 53 percent, said they do not have confidence in FIFA, an improvement of only 16 percent on the 69 percent expressing that sentiment in a survey carried out while Blatter was still the president. Almost half, 43 percent, said that they disapproved of Russia as the hosts for next year’s World Cup, but the survey did not ask for specific reasons for this disapproval.

Transparency International [the anti-corruption organization that endorsed the survey] acknowledged that the survey was not a statistically representative poll but nevertheless argued that it indicates the further work FIFA must do to restore confidence. Cobus de Swardt, special representative at TI, said: “It takes more than a year to win back trust. A year is a short time to turn around an organization that had become synonymous with corruption, so we wait for more concrete actions.”

That said, the results of the Forza Football survey suggest that, even with reforms and goodwill gestures in place, positive public perception is difficult to regain once lost.

Good luck, USA Gymnastics.

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