Criticising FIFA and distancing themselves from governance and corruption problems is a hypocritical stance for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to take so soon after their own Salt Lake City scandal, International Centre for Sport and Security (ICSS) director of integrity Chris Eaton has claimed.
IOC President Thomas Bach launched a strong criticism of FIFA last month after the latest raft of allegations against them, warning how “enough is enough” and they must act “swiftly to regain credibility” because their problems require more changes than simply the election of a new President.
He also told football’s world governing body to take measures complying with themes of accountability, transparency and good governance prioritised in the IOC’s own Agenda 2020 reform process.
Eaton, a former FIFA head of security who departed to take up his ICSS post in 2012, criticised them, however, for taking this stance after backing Blatter for so long, while also doubting the sincerity of some of the IOC’s reforms.
“The IOC has only emerged fairly recently in governing body terms from its own scandal at Salt Lake City [in 1998],” he told insidethegames during last week’s Securing Sport conference in New York City.
“So they shouldn’t point too many fingers and make themselves out to be the superior body.
“The IOC rebuilt their values, but in a very pretentious way and the pretentious behaviour means they will never lead grassroots sports until they can become part of the grassroots culture.
“So the IOC doesn’t really have the role it pretends it has, it is really an event-management company.
“It exists to manage the Olympic Games.
“It has no direct authority, other than influence – because of the Olympic Games – on other sports federations and governing bodies.”
Ten IOC members were expelled and another 10 were sanctioned for involvement in bribery during the successful Salt Lake City bid for the 2002 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, after which a series of reform measures were introduced, including a lower age limit of 70.
Eaton did concede that elements of the IOC’s more recent Agenda 2020 reform process had been positive, but criticised some parts, such as the focus on themes of autonomy and independence.
These values are “up for question” in today’s world, he claimed.
“The Olympic Movement has a different problem,” Eaton added.
“A sense of quasi-royalty.
“The IOC think they are almost born to lead and rule, and that arrogance is equally as culturally negative to FIFA’s greed arrogance.”