FIFA made us all happy for a long time. The international soccer association turned the game into a source of joy for viewers — and to a source of money for its members. The thrill of the game, the excitement at World Cup competitions, the amazement at how entire countries changed when they hosted a FIFA tournament all overshadowed our doubts about how it was all organized.
But that’s over now. A handful of FIFA bosses have been sitting since Wednesday in detention cells facing corruption-related charges. Joy in soccer has been replaced by disappointment at FIFA’s possibly criminal leadership ranks. The association is doing its sport a disservice. What needs to change?
A fish rots from the head down, as they say in Germany. It is the system set up by FIFA president Sepp Blatter that is imploding. He is the leader of an association that claims to be a charity but is nothing of the sort. It is a powerful, rich, international soccer company. Mr. Blatter likes to sign off his letters with the slogan: “For the game. For the world.” It would be more appropriate to sign off: “For the game. For the money.”