Taking on Fifa: How the Dutch FA has become the first to tell Fifa it has had enough

By Walter Broeckx

I think we have over the years written a fair number of articles about Fifa and the way the association is very close to a criminal organisation that is standing above laws that other companies and people have to obey. If you allow Fifa to organise a worldcup in your country you almost give up your law system, traffic laws, tax laws…. Because paying taxes is nothing for Fifa.

Fifa can order the police to throw people in jail even if it is just for wearing the wrong clothes. Fifa don’t pay VAT or other taxes. Fifa wants its own car lanes so that their big bobo’s don’t have to stand in the traffic like other normal people. No, standing in line with the rest of the people is not for Fifa bosses.

With all the corruption scandals that has surrounded Fifa all these years I still can’t get it why any country is still involved with them. How on earth the national football organisations stay member of this corrupt organisation is beyond me.

I think they are afraid of missing out on world cups and by moving out of Fifa they might anger the braindead people who want to wave their country’s flag and while smashing other braindead people on their heads for supporting their country.

This is so medieval… I’m sorry but I think have skipped that phase in human behaviour and I’m not that interested in countries playing other countries. And certainly not when it ends in riots, fighting and hurting people. Rant over.

Going back to Fifa we know now that the giving a world cup to a country is mostly about who gives the most to whom. There is no fair process. Just money or other benefits changing from one person/organisation/country to the people who voted or who decided who will vote.

And thus we get a world cup that should be played in dangerous conditions. Now you might say: Hey, the Arab countries can’t help it that the temperature is so high over there and they shouldn’t be punished for something they can’t help. Okay fair enough but imagine if a country would offer to play the world on the North Pole. There are a few countries who claim that the North Pole should be theirs so it could be possible. Imagine they get the North pole as belonging to their country.

Now nobody with a sane brain would play a world cup on the North pole with temperatures well below zero. But then again should the North Pole be punished for this?

I think the safety of the footballers should be the main concern when appointing a world cup and sending out players in temperatures above 40°C is not really smart.

But apart from the temperatures there is also the matter of how people treat other people. The way Qatar is treating the people who come to work on the stadiums is well known. People who come to work there are just toys in the hands of their employers. They have no rights but to work, work, work and work. They can’t leave the country I have read, as their passports are given in the hands of the employers. So if they want to quit their job they can’t as they can’t get back home.

The working conditions are close to criminal and according to human rights organisations several hundreds of people have already died in the inhuman working conditions. Of course this is not important for the Fifa bosses. Why should they care about the welfare of exchangeable workers? If one dies, just replace him with another piece of meat.

Fifa organised an investigative body but that is like the tax evader judging the tax department. They just said it wasn’t too bad you know. You always have people who are not completely satisfied.

But now we see a first step from one migrant worker who was brave enough to stand up to Fifa. And we also see one brave football association that is brave enough to try to do something about the working conditions in Qatar.

The Dutch KNVB – the organisation that is at the forefront of the campaign for video refereeing, has also been sticking its neck out on this issue of Qatar.

For the Dutch KNVB and a migrant worker from Bangladesh have filed a complaint against Fifa. They claim that handing out the world cup to Qatar was wrong as it is a country where migrant workers are are structurally exploited by the government.

Swiss and Dutch lawyers informed Fifa last Sunday about the law case they have filed against the Association. They demand that the laws in Qatar are changed and that the exploitation of the migrant workers is stopped and that their working conditions become more human.

I must say that I take off my hat for the fact that the Dutch KNVB is standing tall once again. Maybe other national football organisations from other countries could wake up and grow a pair of balls, and join in the complaint. Who knows, if enough big countries would say that they would boycott the world cup it might start moving things a bit.

Now Fifa’s defence is a bit ridiculous if you ask me. Because Fifa is saying they don’t have any influence on the local laws from a country. If it were not for the case of the thousands of workers that are the victim of the exploitation I would laugh out loud.

So Fifa, the organisation that demands that the tax laws are changed for them, the organisation that demands that traffic laws are changed for them, the organisation that demands that young girls dressed in the wrong clothes are arrested during a world cup now say that they can’t do anything about the laws in a country???????

Fifa washing their hands in innocence with that argument…. It is sick. It makes my blood boil as changing the laws of a country is one of the things that each time is happening when a country gets the world cup.

On the one hand it is good that the Dutch KNVB started this legal action against Fifa. But where is the rest of the national football associations? Time to stick out their neck and join the Dutch. Or even better would be to leave Fifa but then again the power of Fifa is that they know that this would upset the mindless football fan who doesn’t care about people losing their lives in order to be able to wave their flags.

Let us hope the Swiss legal system will take this on and force Fifa to at least do something about the fate of the exploited migrant workers. But I am not holding my breath to be honest….

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9 Replies to “Taking on Fifa: How the Dutch FA has become the first to tell Fifa it has had enough”

  1. Not for the first time the little Netherlands are leading the way towards dismantling a corrupt organisation.
    The question now is, who will have the bottle to follow? 😉

  2. Firstly,I like to equate holding the World Cup in Qatar like holding the Winter Olympics in Africa. You can’t do it because the weather conditions aren’t conducive. It doesn’t matter how much Nigeria or the Democratic Republic of Congo might want to hold an international bobsleigh tournament it’s not appropriate because of the weather!

    Hats off to the Dutch though. Who will follow? I’ll bet nobody.

    Irrespective of the argument that FIFA can’t change laws (and I accept your argument as completely valid Walter) my point would be, they don’t have to change laws. They simply include conditions of employment as part of their contract with Qatar. If Qatar don’t change, then FIFA withdraws the World Cup.

    What I find most annoying about this is that if Spain, Italy, France Germany, Brazil & Argentina (and one or two of the lesser teams……like England!!) withdrew and set up their own tournament what could FIFA do about it? The apparent hold the footballing authorities have over associations is that their players wouldn’t be able to play in internationals. So what, if you’re that keen on internationals hold them yourselves. The smaller footballing nations will soon realise where they’ll benefit most and FIFA will be forced to change or fold. Hopefully the latter. The Dutch have been bold enough to stick their heads above the parapet, we should support them………but that assumes the FA have some integrity……………..

    As far as FIFA goes, the World Cup is about them making money. If the teams with the most TV pulling power don’t go, they’ll do something about it.

  3. Did South Africa host Rugby/football or any other major sporting event’s during apartheid? No! And why not? As yourself would a country be allowed to hold a major tournament that excludes black people or ginger haired people or Irish people etc. Qatar is a state where being homosexual is criminal offence and a prison sentence awaits anyone even attempting to enter their land who is of that persuasion ( I use that term because it’s what they use) So what would happen if , say an England player, openly states he is homosexual and his husband will be travelling to the World Cup with him! We will then see how much ball’s the FA and FIFA have then.

  4. we are talking about human maltreatments and their lives being put at risk because of the work they are doing. but ti me if they stabd on their gay law I will support them .its just irritating. any homosexual should gorget world cup in Qatar but all I want is them to change the working conditions for foreigners

  5. Of course giving the WC to Qatar was a stupid idea, made reality by the offerings of money to Fifa. There can be no other possible reason outside of insanity.
    The rules in many Middle eastern countries is that no one is allowed to work when the official temperature rises to 40 degrees or above, but they work around that by foul means, as the temperature never officially rises above 39.9 degrees (according to the governments).
    The initial idea of fully air conditioned stadia sounded interesting, except when you understand that a large proportion of Qataris indigenous population cannot afford to ‘air-con’ their own homes, and that’s before talking about generating the power needed to do this.

    As for the national football organisations, as I understand it Uefa is a section (sub-section) of Fifa and a European nation leaving Fifa would be ‘in Coventry’ unless another European nation joined them. So no European nations competition for them and no CL for their clubs.
    The only way this would happen is if a few of the larger nations agreed to leave Fifa and to set up a new democratic organisation, and that won’t happen as it would mean Spain, France, Germany, Italy and the English FA agreeing on something, which is pretty much impossible.
    Even then there’s to possibility that players like Alexis and Messi would leave Europe as Fifa would probably ban any player in one of those leagues from playing for their nation in a Fifa sanctioned game. So it would really need all the other sub-section countries to do the same.

  6. Fifa sounds like a thug arm of some organisation. Bullying their way to get what they want.

    They seem pretty secure and will take a lot to topple. We have to make sure that the next “fifa” is not just the old one in a new guise.

    Why need a fifa at all? When the various countries can do the same job in their country all following the same rules.

    Just expand the various country’s league organisation to cover CL and WC too, that way we would have the same rules for all football worldwide.

  7. Only 5 comments yesterday Tony, on your sobering post. I find that somewhat surprising.
    I would suggest that no-one reading it could fail to be appalled over the corruption and dictatorship for which FIFA has an unparalleled reputation.
    Surely there must be a core of decency within membership of the FA, willing to move towards following the Dutch. 😉

  8. Para,
    “Just expand the various country’s league organisation to cover CL and WC too,”.
    You say that as though the CL, EC and WC are little events that could be run on the local sports ground. I do agree that it would be nice to take it all away from Fifa and Uefa but that will be a very major operation where a number of countries would have to put their own politics and self preservation aside so that they can concentrate on agreeing to something which will improve football in general.
    Add to this that our own Football association would come bottom of the table in the ‘Arse and Elbow recognition’ competition.
    So it’s undoubtedly a great idea but unfortunately it’s probably an unworkable idea.

  9. Erm…..what happened to this site ?
    Walter is perfectly capable of reading dutch, but he somehow missed the difference between “KNVB” and “FNV” ?

    The “KNVB”- or “Dutch FA”- has nothing to do with this. “FNV” is a labor/trade Union, like “ABVV” in Belgium. It has nothing to do with football. But everything with labor rights. And that’s why it is starting this legal action.

    Please remember this the next time this site claims “media ****-ups”. I am very disappointed.

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