You might think in this day and age, such a sentiment would be so well worn that you need not repeat it. Yet, tone at the top of an organization really does matter. If an organization is permeated by corruption it is either because the top management participated in the actions or were so jaundiced, they kept their eyes tightly shuttered and allowed it to occur over years and perhaps even decades.
I thought about this as I watched the sad spectacle of the disgraced former head of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, announce he was going to fight the eight-year suspension announced by FIFA’s ethics committee earlier this week. Recognizing that an eight-year ban was in effect a lifetime suspension for the 79 year old Blatter, he announced in a press conference that,“Now I am fighting.”
Blatter seems to have absolutely no remorse for either the endemic corruption that appears to have been rampant in the organization he ran since 1998. He even failed to acknowledge anything in the operative event, which directly led the suspension. It was a payment to the head of UFEA, Michel Platini of $2.1 million in 2011 for work allegedly done from 1999-2002. Of course there was no contract for this work, nor any invoices, nor any tangible work product, but Blatter and Platini assured us it was all on the up and up through a “gentlemen’s agreement.”
For FIFA to exist going forward, it had to understand (and apparently did) that Blatter had to go. Who is left to run the organization is another question for another day but there must be a change in the organization’s perceived entitlement for all the participants. Blatter never seemed to understand that he was a very large part of the problem and not a part of the solution going forward. During his press conference he stated, “I am ashamed that the committee goes against the evidence presented. They have no right!”