At The Heart Of FIFA’s Troubles: Accountability, CU Boulder Prof Says

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Photo: FIFA protester (AP Photo)
A protester wearing a mask depicting FIFA President Sepp Blatter in Zurich, Switzerland, Friday, May 29, 2015.

For years, CU Boulder political scientist and soccer fan Roger Pielke Jr. has attempted to sound the alarm on international soccer's governing body, FIFA. In 2012, he wrote a paper questioning the non-profit's accountability, and he says he isn't at all surprised that the U.S. Justice Department last week announced an indictment and guilty pleas in a wide-ranging probe of senior leaders at the organization.

Pielke spoke with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner about FIFA. Edited highlights are below. Click the audio link above to hear the conversation. And a note: FIFA did not respond to CPR's request for an interview.


Pielke on Sepp Blatter's resignation announcement

"He's said similar things before so I think a little dose of cynicism is warranted. We haven't seen the end of Sepp Blatter yet."

On whether the resignation announcement is the start of meaningful change

"I'm a bit hesitant, but I think in the past generation this really is the most significant opportunity. It's one that could be squandered if actions aren't taken to really help FIFA move its governance into the 21st Century, but there really is a window open for positive change."

On last year's World Cup

"During the World Cup last year in Brazil, there were considerable public protests. People in Brazil said that they wanted 'FIFA-quality schools and FIFA-quality hospitals' because the government was spending hundreds of millions of dollars building FIFA-quality stadiums, which wound up as white elephants. There were news reports just in the last week of one major stadium being used as a parking lot."