Protecting private transnational authority against public intervention: FIFA’s power over national governments

2015-09-04T11:18:36Z (GMT) by Borja Garcia-Garcia Henk-Erik Meier
Scholars have controversially discussed whether the rise of transnational private authority is beneficial or undermines public legitimate authority. While the recent focus on civil regulation has emphasized the key role of public authorities and civil societies in such arrangements, the case of the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) provides strong evidence that global policies can be formulated and administered by completely private institutions relying on strong enforcement mechanisms and able to confront public authorities. FIFA’s power results from its control of market access to global football, which represents a vital club good for national football industries. Therefore, FIFA is able to force European Union member states to deviate from national paths of sport regulation. Without orchestrating their efforts, public authorities are unlikely to succeed in challenging FIFA’s power. Although the recent corruption scandals might force FIFA to implement some reforms, FIFA has a vital interest in protecting its regulatory powers.