As you know by now, Sepp Blatter has been reelected as president of FIFA despite the arrests of fourteen people, including nine current or former FIFA officials. The 47 charges brought by US attorney general Loretta Lynch include racketeering, money laundering, wire fraud, and obstruction of justice.
The moral and ethical problems at FIFA, of course, are much greater. Regardless of whether bribing, illegal gifts, or kickbacks were involved in the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 Men’s World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively, the fact remains that awarding those tournaments represents approval of the severe human rights issues in both nations.
Russia’s infamous law against “gay propaganda” – which apparently includes acknowledging the existence of homosexuality – continues to have a devastating effect. Foreign and domestic journalists are routinely harassed. And political opponents of president Vladimir Putin are regularly arrested or killed.
And in Qatar, more than 1,200 migrant workers have already died in World Cup construction projects. The kafala system is nothing more than modern slavery: workers are shipped in from countries like Nepal, Indonesia, and India, and are then made to work long hours in unsafe conditions. Most are not paid what they were promised. They are not even permitted to leave the country or open checking accounts without permission of their employer. It is estimated that more than 4,000 construction workers will have died by the start of the 2022 Men’s World Cup.
But there is a way to fix everything. The GoobNet Special Projects Enhancement and Enforcement Division [SPEED] has reviewed the available evidence and has concluded that the only course of action is to implement the following plan to establish a new international footballing organisation.
This organisation shall be known as the “GoobNet Organised Federation for Football Spanning International Divisions of Earth”.
The GoobNet OFFSIDE shall be the world’s foremost footballing organisation. It shall organise tournaments for the national teams of all participating nations, and it shall have oversight over the leagues in all participating nations. It shall act in the best interests of the sport at all times, taking into account the needs for transparency, human rights, and player safety.
The GoobNet OFFSIDE shall be a nonprofit organisation. And when we say nonprofit, we mean it. Income shall be used only for purposes authorised by general meeting. An annual report shall be published in advance of each general meeting as defined in section 5, documenting how the funds allocated at the previous general meeting were spent.
MEMBERSHIP. The GoobNet OFFSIDE shall be made up of football associations in all nations that are willing to participate.
ADMINISTRATION. The GoobNet OFFSIDE shall be led by a president, a secretary, and an advisory board.
PRESIDENT. The president shall be responsible for chairing all GoobNet OFFSIDE general meetings and advisory board meetings.
SECRETARY. The secretary shall be responsible for daily operations of the GoobNet OFFSIDE.
ADVISORY BOARD. The advisory board shall be the main executive body of the GoobNet OFFSIDE. It shall convene at least twelve times per year and be responsible for voting on matters other than those falling under the responsibilities of the general meeting defined in section 5.
MEMBERSHIP. The advisory board shall include representation from all stakeholders in football, including [but not limited to] leagues, clubs, players, managers, and supporters. No more than 50% of the advisory board membership shall be affiliated with the GoobNet OFFSIDE or any of its member associations.
COMMITTEES. The advisory board shall be responsible for establishing committees to concentrate on subjects of importance to the GoobNet OFFSIDE. These committees shall make recommendations to the advisory board. These committees shall include, at a minimum:
VOTING. Voting at each advisory board meeting shall be by roll call. In the interest of transparency, the secretary shall publish an agenda of all items voted on at each advisory board meeting, together with a listing of the vote cast by each member.
MEETING ROOM. Each advisory board meeting shall be held in a room that features a large, prominent banner that reads “Is This Good For the GAME?”.
TERMS OF OFFICE. The president, secretary, and advisory board members shall each serve terms of four years in length. No person shall serve more than two total terms in these positions in any combination: for example, a person who has served one term as an advisory board member and one term as president may not then serve a second term as president.
FREQUENCY. The GoobNet OFFSIDE shall hold a general meeting of all member football associations at least once per year.
RESPONSIBILITIES. The general meeting shall be responsible for:
VOTING. Voting at the general meeting shall be by roll call. In the interest of transparency, the secretary shall publish an agenda of all items voted on at each general meeting, together with a listing of the vote cast by each member football association.
REGIONAL DIVISIONS. The member football associations may form regional divisions as they see fit, subject to the approval of the advisory board.
MEMBERSHIP. Member football associations may join or leave regional divisions as they see fit, subject to the approval of the advisory board. Member football associations shall not be required to join a regional division, nor shall member football associations be limited to joining one regional division.
TOURNAMENTS. Each regional division shall oversee, at a minimum, two tournaments for national teams: a men’s championship to be held every four years, and a women’s championship to be held every four years. These championships shall be separate from any qualifiers for the tournaments defined in section 7.
CLUB CHAMPIONSHIPS. Each regional division may also oversee an annual league for clubs, to be played as illustrated in the GoobNet Agency for Reintroducing Relegation into Recreational Game Hierarchies’ Actual Champions League proposal.
LIST OF TOURNAMENTS AND FREQUENCY. The GoobNet OFFSIDE shall organise the following tournaments for national teams:
PARTICIPATION. The number of participating member football associations at each of the above tournaments shall be decided by the advisory board.
HOSTING. Each tournament shall be organised by one member football association, or a group of member football associations, as voted by general meeting. The host or cohosts shall organise the tournament in existing stadiums without constructing new stadiums or refurbishing existing stadiums.
QUALIFICATION. The method of qualification for each of the above tournaments shall be decided by the advisory board. The advisory board may assign responsibility for organising the qualification tournament to the regional divisions, provided that all member football associations that wish to participate compete in one and only one division’s qualifiers.
AUTOMATIC QUALIFICATION OF CHAMPIONS. The champion of the Men’s Football Cup and the Women’s Football Cup shall qualify automatically for the next edition. The champion of the Men’s Under-18 Football Cup and the Women’s Under-18 Football Cup shall qualify automatically for the next edition of the Men’s Under-20 Football Cup and the Women’s Under-20 Football Cup respectively.
AUTOMATIC QUALIFICATION OF HOSTS. The host member football association shall qualify automatically for each of the above tournaments. In the event of cohosting, one of the cohosting member football associations shall qualify automatically, and the remaining cohosts shall enter the normal qualification procedure defined above. The cohosts shall either nominate one of their number for automatic qualification or participate in a playoff to decide the automatic qualifier.
MINIMUM ENTRIES. All member football associations shall participate in the qualifiers for each Men’s and Women’s Football Cup. Furthermore, every four years, all member football associations shall participate in the qualifiers for at least one men’s youth tournament [one of the two Men’s Under-20 Football Cups or one of the two Men’s Under-18 Football Cups] and at least one women’s youth tournament [one of the two Women’s Under-20 Football Cups or one of the two Women’s Under-18 Football Cups].
BROADCASTING. In keeping with the GoobNet OFFSIDE’s purpose and with the idea of football being the world’s game, the broadcasting rights, including [but not limited to] television, radio, and Internet, for all tournament matches shall be open to any broadcasters who wish to cover the matches, provided that a portion of the proceeds, in an amount subject to the approval of the general meeting, are provided to the GoobNet OFFSIDE to fund said tournaments and for other purposes authorised by general meeting.
DOMESTIC SCHEDULE. Leagues in member football associations, or club championships organised by regional divisions, shall limit each club to 36 matches or less per year, including any championship or promotion/relegation playoffs.
INTERNATIONAL SCHEDULE. Matches for international teams shall be played on dates to be reserved by general meeting, subject to the following constraints:
PLAYER RELEASE. Upon request by the national team’s manager, clubs shall release players to their national teams at least three days before the first of a group of reserved dates.
INJURY. A player who is called up but cannot report due to injury may be sent back to the player’s club or exempted from callup by agreement between the club and the national team. However, the player shall not participate in any football matches during that group of reserved dates.
NO COMPENSATION. The GoobNet OFFSIDE shall not, under any circumstances, compensate any club for participation of its players in any international matches, including [but not limited to] matches in the above tournaments, qualifiers for the above tournaments, regional division championships, or friendly matches. Nor shall any regional division or member football association compensate any club for participation of its players in any international matches. In the event of an injury while on international duty, the player’s club shall shut the fuck up and deal. Footballers are people, not property.
TRANSPARENCY. The GoobNet OFFSIDE shall incorporate the recommendations by Transparency International in its “Safe Hands” report for good governance, and its “Staying On Side” report for fighting match fixing.
ETHICS CODE. In particular, the GoobNet OFFSIDE shall develop and enforce an ethics code including [but not limited to] the following:
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