Paul Gilham/Getty Images
Prince William has joined fans in calling for FIFA to reform, as the world soccer organization continues to reel from its worst corruption scandal in history.
The 32-year-old royal made his comments to delegates of England’s Football Association Challenge Cup, or FA Cup, at Wembley Stadium in London on Saturday. William is the president of the FA.
“There seems to be a huge disconnect between the sense of fair play that guides those playing and supporting the game and the allegations of corruption that have long lingered around the management of the sport internationally,” William said.
The United States recently indicted14 FIFA officials and sports media and promotions execs over allegations of corruption. The scandal had erupted over the group’s award of the World Cup finals to Russia and Qatar. Seven of the people indicted were arrested in Switzerland.
“The events in Zurich this week represent FIFA’s Salt Lake City moment, when the International Olympic Committee went through a similar period of serious allegations,” William said. “FIFA, like the IOC, must now show that it can represent the interests of fair play and put the sport first.”
In 1998, an IOC member had revealed that other officials had accepted perks and bribes in exchange for voting to have Salt Lake City host the 2002 Winter Olympics, spurring calls for reform for the organization.
“Those backing FIFA, such as sponsors and the regional confederations, must do their bit to press these reforms—we are doing football and its fans no favors if we do not,” he said. “I have no doubt that when FIFA reforms, its mission to spread the benefits of the game to more people, especially those in developing countries, can only be enhanced.”
Before the game, William stepped onto the field to shake hands with several players and Arsenal’s manager. Sadly for William, the team beat Aston Villa 4-0.
This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.