What a Leader at FIFA would have said…
Leaders set the culture and environment for their organizations. They do this through their personal actions and with their organizational design, whether they encourage obedience to orders from the top or independent thinking, responsibility and dissent.
When faced with a mistake by their organization, leaders will….
- be sorry,
- be transparent,
- be detailed,
- be responsible.
The president of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, issued a statement in response to the arrest of seven FIFA officials and the indictment of an additional seven. The statement dodges responsibility, is unapologetic, and treats the problem as a tarnished reputation for FIFA rather than the corrupt acts.
You can read Sepp Blatter statement here.
Here’s a rewrite of the statement if it had come from a leader:
To the players and fans of football, current and future, I deeply apologize for the corrupt actions taken by members of the FIFA organization. I regret that people in an organization I led have tarnished a game I and millions of you love.
FIFA’s mission is to develop football everywhere and build a better world and an inspiring future through the power of the game. We failed as an organization and I failed as its leader. Instead, several high-ranking members used this power to enrich themselves.
The actions of these officials are not consistent with the FIFA code of ethics and will not be tolerated. We have set up a special hotline to hear about any complaints directly from you. We have invited law enforcement officials to sit alongside us as we hear from you and have made a commitment to be fully transparent with them.
I personally apologize for the environment I created which tolerated such behaviors.
Upon reflection, I realize that actions I took in response to earlier indications of wrongdoing were inadequate and created a sense of exceptionalism and lack of accountability. Specifically, I failed to publish the investigation by former US prosecutor Michael Garcia into the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 FIFA world cup tournaments to Russia and Qatar. I failed to sufficiently investigate the depth of unethical conduct within FIFA following the resignation of the Honorary FIFA President in 2013. I failed with my own personal example, accepting for example a private airplane and financial assistance from the emir of Qatar for my election as president and subsequently allowing the games to be awarded to his country.
As the president of FIFA I am responsible.
Accordingly, I hereby resign as president of FIFA.
My hope is this marks a turning point in FIFA with a return to our promise to inspire the world through the game of football.