Transnational football’s male elite: The unsustainability of FIFA?

Hughson, John Ewing orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7030-4806 and Hughson, Marina (2018) Transnational football’s male elite: The unsustainability of FIFA? In: Unsustainable Institutions of Men: Transnational Dispersed Centres, Gender Power, Contradictions. Routledge Advances in Feminist Studies and Intersectionality . Routledge, New York, pp. 55-70. ISBN 9781138093003

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This chapter analyses the links between the transnational and the peak level football (soccer) organization, FIFA. It looks particularly at the long-running ‘crises’ of its male elite leadership, which presided over corrupt practice. In 2015, this culminated in the standing down of its president, Joseph ‘Sepp’ Blatter. We briefly trace the history of FIFA through to the time of Blatter’s presidency (1998–2015), looking at the development of an organizational structure and culture that allowed for the creation of a male power elite comprised of an interlocking network of cronies, reliant upon each other for the retention of office and the benefits such office affords. Post-Blatter, the chapter considers whether the installation of a new president, Gianni Infantino, has or will auger in organizational change to FIFA, and if so, what type of change might occur. The chapter puts forward the proposition that FIFA, like many other modern transnational organizations, is characterized by a close connection between organizational design and a weakness of control mechanisms through which a male elite has strengthened in a circular manner. We introduce the idea of intentionality, via Stiglitz, contending that the intentionality of male elites can be connected with a ‘critical studies of men and masculinities’ approach.

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