What is going on? How can observing a minute’s silence, wearing a poppy emblazoned black armband and sounding the last post at an Armistice Day football international be wrong? Honouring your war dead is not a commercial, political or religious act is it? It is, of course palpable nonsense that Fifa, one of the most allegedly corrupt organisations, is trying to tell us to behave in a way that adheres to their own moral code and rules of what’s right and wrong.
Not only does their decision leave many people scratching their heads, but it also highlights the inconsistency of Fifa’s message as the England football team were allowed to wear a poppy -embellished black arm band in their 1-0 friendly win over Spain at Wembley on 12 November, 2011. The footballers quite rightly donated their match fees to the Help the Heroes Charity, but if Fifa continue down the punishment route as is suggested, then surely the FA will launch a legal challenge and appeal against the decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland. And if this does happen, who knows just how much the legal fees for that process will be? And how much better would it be for all of that money to go to our remembrance charities instead?
Fifa has been the subject of numerous criminal investigations including bribery and money laundering. Two of its infamous leaders: Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini have been called into question with regard to their trustworthiness and have been subsequently banned from all footballing activities for 8 years by Fifa’s very own ethical committee! And several questions have been asked about its decision to award the most prestigious, most lucrative and most watched sporting event in the world, the World Cup to the small, but very wealthy, Gulf state of Qatar in 2022, where working conditions are allegedly exploitative and unfair.
In today’s competitive business world, where some corporate institutions have been rocked by scandal, integrity – doing the right thing – is a most highly prized quality. You must demonstrate, on a daily basis, that you are honest, consistent and fair. You must do as you say and say as you do. If you say that yours is a firm that puts its people at its heart and then you underpay and overwork them, no one will take you seriously. And you certainly won’t be in a strong position to tell other firms how to manage their people strategy! You must ensure that your strong moral values permeate your organisation’s culture. If bad decisions are made, doubts set in and reputations falter.
After all, look what’s happened to Fifa! Who is looking up to them now?