Leaders must be held accountable for the culture they create, says James Marsh, Head of Consulting at leading HR events and services firm, Symposium, in response to the criminal investigations for corruption currently taking place at FIFA.

Nine FIFA officials and four executives of sport management companies were arrested this week on suspicion of taking an estimated $150m in bribes over the last two decades.

James Marsh said:

“Should these 11 people be found guilty of the charges against them, it would represent irrefutable evidence of a toxic organisational culture within FIFA, for which its leadership must ultimately be held responsible.”

Current FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, was not among the accused but, as he hopes to be re-elected for a fifth term, there is a debate as to whether the 2015 presidential elections due to take place tomorrow (Friday) should go ahead in light of the allegations.

English Football Association chairman Greg Dyke has told the BBC that Blatter “has to go,” arguing that FIFA will only be able to build trust again under new leadership. He said the election should go ahead because of the likelihood that challenger Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan would be elected to replace Blatter.

UEFA, Europe’s governing body, is currently deciding whether to boycott the election or to voice their opposition to the current leadership by voting for Blatter’s opponent, Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein from Jordan.

FIFA has said that it welcomes the investigations of corruption, suggesting that they do not believe it to be an organisation-wide issue.

Marsh believes that the organisational culture has developed from the top down:

“It’s a systemic failure, not a failure of individuals. Faulty leadership has created a culture that’s allowed these people to do what they’ve done.”

Title image courtesy of Mariya Butd via Flickr

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Steff joined the HRreview editorial team in November 2014. A former event coordinator and manager, Steff has spent several years working in online journalism. She is a graduate of Middlessex University with a BA in Television Production and will complete a Master's degree in Journalism from the University of Westminster in the summer of 2015.