UEFA and and FIFA officials have been accused of enabling a ‘corrupt system’ following their reluctance to condemn top players for tax evasion.
When you see the words “FIFA” and “UEFA”, the word “corruption” usually isn’t too far off.
A number of dubious individuals head up the game’s biggest governing bodies and have been suspiciously quiet about some of the game’s issues.
One such issue is the tax evasion epidemic that has effected a number of top players, mostly ones that play in Spain.
Officials from UEFA and FIFA were questioned by Members of the European Parliament over the issue and despite being given an invitation to condemn the players involved, the MEPs received silence.
Among the players involved are Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the two biggest stars in world football.
Messi was found guilty of defrauding Spain of £3.6m in tax, while Ronaldo has allegedly evaded £12.9m.
Barcelona responded to Messi’s case with an overwhelming support for their legendary player, including a social media campaign using the hashtag #WeAreAllLioMessi.
Their attitude towards the case came under fierce criticism from the media.
Among the questioned were Kimberly Morris, Head of Global Transfers & Compliance at FIFA, and Julien Zylberstein, legal cousel at UEFA.
When called upon to codemn the players, both ducked the issue. Morris claimed the matter was “more the purview of tax authorities”, while Zylberstein said: “We believe tax evasion is a clear threat to the social values of football and to the regulatory framework and to the integrity of the broader game. Having said that, it’s up to the regulatory authorities.”