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Sports, Business and ethics - a situation analysis

5 April 2013, Stadium Letzigrund, Zurich

Bild:ORTHart Photography, Dominik Orth

With Transparency Into the Future!

At the event at the Zurich Letzigrund Stadium, around 50 meters distance away from the football field inside the stadium, discussions were firm but fair. In his welcome speech, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter, whose association established the Early Warning System GmbH (EWS) in 2005, made it clear how seriously he takes the issues of morals and ethics in FIFA and in football in general. He stressed: "We are not perfect, but we learn". With regard to the fight against racism and betting manipulations in football, the FIFA President referred to the case of the former Series B Professional Simone Farina, who had resisted and reported a bribing attempt two years ago, and has subsequently been outlawed from Italian football and could not find a club. "That must not happen", exclaimed Joseph Blatter and called on all member associations to cooperate closely with FIFA.

Criminal law Professor Mark Pieth, chairman of the independent commission tasked with contributing to an improved management and transparency of FIFA, confirmed that the world’s football governing body is actually willing to bring about reforms. "However, our perceptions and those of FIFA are still apart. We are only halfway through the renewal process". Pieth advocated, amongst others, an age limit for association officials. In addition, he emphasized the relevance of restructuring major sports federations. Such entities should be constituted and managed like large companies.

Financial expert Oswald Grübel, during a round table with "Weltwoche" Editor-in-Chief Roger Köppel, drew a succinct conclusion: "If sport does not become more transparent, the same will happen to it as it did to the financial world!". In his outright manner, the former Credit Suisse und UBS Executive demanded: "Particularly, FIFA must become more transparent, also in terms of finances". Wall Street correspondent Jens Korte forged a humorous bridge from the stock exchange to football as he revealed that he is, since about one year, also active in "football business" : "I am coaching three junior teams in the USA". Former Bayer Leverkusen manager Reiner Calmund, in turn, proved in a crosstalk with Marcel Reif that he has not suffered any losses in terms of repartee.

The finale of the event was entirely dedicated to active sports, when two teams studded with Zurich All-Stars and representatives of the congress sponsors met for a friendly match on the turf.

Andy Huber, Redaktor BR