Kickbacks, gambling, and match-fixing in football dwarf the FIFA scandal

Authors: Douglas BarriosMatt Andrews and Stuart Russell

The world of sports was taken by storm when a recent FBI probe led to the arrest of a series of high ranking FIFA officials and the subsequent resignation of Sepp Blatter after winning re-election to a fifth four-year term as president of the organization.

The uproar is understandable; the accusations have been scandalous, their impact has been felt all around the globe and a never-ending series of notable sport controversies appear to be linked to the investigation. 

A Better FIFA Won’t Solve Football’s Ills

Authors: Stuart RussellMatt Andrews and Douglas Barrios

Recent accusations of corruption at the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) are, unfortunately, entirely unsurprising. Allegations of bad governance, bribery and fraud have surrounded the organization for years, but repeated calls for reform have generated limited change. While FIFA needs reform, many of the recent calls for change seem excessively narrow when one considers that the organization is only marginally important in the general governance of football (or soccer). One needs to look beyond FIFA to seriously correct the governance problems plaguing football and sports more generally.

Boston's Olympic Bid: Leveraging the Non-Economic Gains

Author: Stuart Russell

Earlier this year, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) named Boston as its candidate city for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. Boston was chosen over other bids from Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. It now joins Rome and Hamburg as the only cities to have officially submitted a bid for the 2024 Summer Games, although many other countries ranging from France to South Africa are also considering submitting cities.

Understanding the Economics of Sport through the Industry Space Methodology

The Center for International Development at Harvard University in cooperation with Anet Weterings from the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency is preparing a publication which investigates the sports cluster in the industry space. This blog highlights some of the findings of this study. This research is part of an ongoing collaboration with the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS).

Any casual observer of the Olympics, the World Cup, or European professional soccer knows that the world of sport is big business. Expensive stadiums and massive player transfer fees suggest that there is an economic dimension to sport. However, the exact mechanisms through which sport influences other sectors in the broader economy are less clear. The industry space is one technique through which we can better understand these connections. It is a methodology that illustrates the industrial structure of a given geographic area by emphasizing the linkages between economic activities. Economic sectors are connected in the industry space if they possess similar characteristics such as human capital, natural resources, or value chain linkages. If we can locate sport within the industry space, we can hope to better understand how the economic aspects of sport spillover to other sectors.