Keeping private governance private: is FIFA blackmailing national governments?

2013-06-27T12:35:47Z (GMT) by Borja Garcia-Garcia Henk-Erik Meier
Governance by non-state actors has received increased attention. However, it is still controversial to what extent private governance regimes operate in an effective ‘shadow of hierarchy’. We focus on international football where a private governance regime actively claiming autonomy from public authorities has been established since 1904. We provide comparative case study evidence that FIFA as football’s global regulator has been able to force national governments and regulators to abandon interference in football’s matters even in case of blatant failures of private governance. Research supports the claim that private regimes providing unique governance contributions represent an institutional equilibrium able to resist challenges. Moreover, private governance arrangements that generate positive feedbacks for political stakeholders can shape their political environment. FIFA’s victories are highly problematic since they discourage national governments to fight misconduct in sport while it can be doubted that private governance alone can deal with the regulatory problems at stake.