By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw
Following recent football scandals relating to bidding to host major events, such as the FIFA World Cup in 2018 and 2022, UEFA, the Governing Body of European Football, has introduced new rules, as part of its updated Disciplinary Code, which are designed to tighten up its bidding procedures and eliminate bribery and corruption in relation to them.
Under these new rules, officials overseeing the bidding processes for UEFA events will, in future, be required “to act with complete honesty.”
Furthermore, UEFA executive committee members, when voting on such bids, must exercise a “duty of care and fidelity” and are also required “to faithfully exercise their responsibilities and make decisions in good conscience and good faith, in accordance with objective criteria and never on the basis of any real or perceived improper advantage, pecuniary or otherwise.”
As regards bribery, the new rules specifically warn officials “to not directly or indirectly offer, promise, give or accept any undue pecuniary or benefit of any kind with a view to influencing UEFA’s decision making, whether in business-related matters or in any other sphere commercial or otherwise.”
The new rules further provide that “Persons bound by these provisions shall only offer or accept gifts or other benefits that cannot reasonably be considered as susceptible of influencing their behaviour, creating any form of obligation or resulting in any conflict of interest.”
These new imperatives are to be welcomed and it is hoped that they will not only be strictly observed by football officials, but also strictly enforced by UEFA, and that any breaches of them will be met with appropriate sporting and other penalties!
Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw may be contacted by e-mail at ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’