Given how much we like soccer, the industry could generate
much more money than today, although it already generates a lot. If clubs,
leagues and federations manage to overcome the appropriability problem (by
which we can experience a lot of the soccer experience for free), and if large
countries such as China, the US and Indonesia become more attracted to the
game, the size of the market could double in the next ten years, according to
the specialized press. That is what makes it urgent to fight corruption at FIFA
and its component federations. However, it is difficult to see that the current
drive is going to be successful. As Financial Times journalist Simon Kuper has
been arguing, today FIFA officials have basically cut their dependence from western
democratic markets, and have based a system of power on relationships with the
likes of Vadimir Putin and non-democratic rich governments such as Qatar’s.
FIFA is an example of a private governance organization, providing very
valuable global public goods: the rules of the most unified sport in the world,
and the schedule of interrelated tournaments (from national club leagues to
international country competitions). FIFA is a global unregulated monopoly.
Without a federal global regulator it will continue to be so. The US courts can be a
partial substitute, but they have only a certain amount of power. Meanwhile,
Blatter can continue his rule at the top for some more years (he just announced that he will not seek a new period, but he will remain until a new president is found) after 34 as
secretary general or president. And representatives from national federations
will keep fighting to have a picture taken with him.