There are two expressions that when uttered in an organization should set off all alarm bells. One is: “Everybody does it,” and it was delivered by someone who knew exactly what he was talking about. Warren Buffet, who is not exactly any businessman, but one of the largest investors in the world. He knew perfectly well that this phrase was the perfect excuse to maintain corrupt practices in an organization. This alarm sentence could be perfectly applied to the successive presidents of FC Barcelona when, one after another, they continued to pay the vice president of the referees, Enriquez Negreira, since the previous presidents also “did it”.
The other alarm sentence is: “Let us work”, and the one who pronounced it recently was the president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF). The meaning was different. While Buffet did it as a warning, Rubiales did it as a request to continue managing the federation at his own discretionary will, as so many presidents of sports federations do. The power structure of the sports federations is so hierarchical that in manuals it is common to describe this management style as the emperor model. Rubiales has been and is, for the moment, the paradigmatic example of an emperor. Hence, he demands that he and his family be allowed to work without obstacles, limits and even without criticism.
Indeed, if something characterizes his tenure in the RFEF, it is getting rid of any possible impediments that could oppose his will. The most emblematic episode of this desire was the removal of the ethics committee, a body that, as can be assumed, has the responsibility to apply the rules of an ethical code that prevent and sanction actions contrary to sports ethics, but also those contrary to organizational management in accordance with the most basic moral principles. Said committee was made up of university professors, also legal experts and, furthermore, without any previous connection with the federation and without conflicts of interest.
After having modified the code at that time in force to provide it with clear rules regarding infringements and applicable sanctions, two of its members decided to resign (the third was dismissed after a few hours) upon verifying that their ideas about the purposes and powers of the committee was not shared by the leadership of the federation. They had probably gone too far in their zeal to investigate suspicious behavior by territorial federation presidents. Anyone who knows the world of federations knows of the strong dependence (clientelism) of the president of the RFEF on the presidents of the territorial federations. On those same dates, the vice president and, at the same time, director of integrity had also resigned. Chance?
Soon after, the federation names a new committee, but the ethical code is reformed with the aim of eliminating the possibility that its members could sanction members of the federation who could commit an infraction. Now they could only make recommendations to the president. In other words, he would have absolute power to decide to sanction (or not) the members of the federation and himself. In other words, he would be “the emperor” raised to the nth degree.
The passivity of the CSD
The unfortunate and shameful behavior of the president in the box of authorities and in the delivery of medals in the recent women’s soccer World Cup could be interpreted as the culmination of someone who believes himself to have absolute power —and, therefore, untouchable. — seasoned with the traits of his peculiar personality. But it would be naive to think that the diagnosis only rests on the merits Rubiales personal It would be necessary to look at the people who have supported him in the federation. Some may have initially thought they could tame the beast, but they were the ones feral, going from assuming reasonable loyalty to an unjustifiable blind adherence that prevented them from saying no (or resigning their positions).
But you don’t just have to look down, you also have to look up. The flagrant passivity of the Higher Sports Council (CSD) in the face of the various excesses in which the management of the federation has been involved during these years is incomprehensible and its private nature cannot be argued to justify the lack of control and, eventually, the adoption of decisions that end with the disqualification of a federation president. Because that is a competence of the Government through the CSD. If it is not done, it is because it is not wanted and the reasons should be explained.
In any case, the solution cannot be reduced to a punctual change of president-emperor. The opportunity should be seized to seriously address the reform of the federations so that they stop having that stink of toxic organizations and have a scheme closer to organizations where the rule does not govern. emperor model, but one of governance supported by an “ethical culture”, more transparent and with a higher degree of accountability.
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Source: EL PAIS