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  • Writer's pictureMarie S.

How Musa Got Burnt By FIFA: Standing Against FIFA's Soccer Colonization of the Game in Africa

Neutralizing Critics Has Been The FIFA Way



There have been various instances of FIFA's attempts to colonize African soccer. For years now, FIFA has been imposing its Western values on African soccer, leading to the marginalization of African teams and players. Some even argue that FIFA has been exploiting African soccer for its own financial gain and has failed to address issues of corruption and mismanagement within African football associations. Some critics argue that FIFA's insistence on promoting the European style of play has led to a lack of diversity and creativity in African soccer. They also argue that FIFA's attempts to standardize the game have led to the suppression of local styles and traditions. One of the main criticisms of FIFA's involvement in African soccer is its emphasis on commercialization and profit over the development of the sport. Critics argue that FIFA's sponsorship deals with multinational corporations have led to the commodification of African soccer and the exploitation of African players. They also argue that FIFA's insistence on playing international matches in Africa during the hottest months of the year has put players' health and safety at risk. There is also the criticism that FIFA's involvement in African soccer is its failure to address issues of corruption and mismanagement within African football associations. FIFA has been accused of turning a blind eye to corruption and malpractice in African soccer when it suits it, allowing officials to embezzle funds and engage in unethical practices without consequence. Some people have even gone as far as to accuse FIFA of actively perpetuating corruption in African soccer in order to maintain its control over the sport. Some African countries, including Nigeria and Ghana, have accused FIFA of exerting undue influence over their national soccer associations and interfering in their internal affairs. One of the main points of contention is the role of FIFA in appointing officials to African football associations. FIFA has been accused of handpicking officials who are sympathetic to their interests, and of using their influence to remove officials who are critical of their policies. Another issue is the lack of transparency in FIFA's dealings with African football associations. Critics argue that FIFA has used its financial power to control the development of soccer in Africa, without providing sufficient accountability or transparency. In addition to these allegations, there have been concerns about the exploitation of young African players by European clubs. Many talented young players from Africa are scouted by European clubs and offered contracts, but are often left without adequate support or protection. FIFA has been criticized for failing to address this issue and for allowing European clubs to exploit young African talent. Despite these criticisms, FIFA has maintained that its actions in Africa are aimed at improving the development of soccer on the continent. The organization has pointed to the success of the FIFA Forward program, which aims to promote the growth of soccer in developing countries, as evidence of their commitment to African soccer. However, many African countries remain skeptical of FIFA's intentions and continue to push for greater autonomy and transparency in their dealings with the organization. Some have even called for a boycott of FIFA events, arguing that the organization is not serving the interests of African soccer. Musa Became A Target Musa Bility's standing against FIFA's attempt to "colonize" African soccer has made him a target because he was actively working to challenge the status quo and fight for the rights of African soccer players and administrators. Bility, who served as the President of the Liberia Football Association, was vocal about his opposition to FIFA's colonial-style involvement in African soccer and their control over African football associations. Bility was an advocate for the decentralization of soccer governance in Africa, which would allow African countries to have greater autonomy in managing their own soccer affairs. This went against the interests of FIFA, which had been accused of exploiting African soccer for their own benefit. FIFA's attempt to control African soccer is seen by many as a threat to the sovereignty of African nations, and Bility was one of the few African soccer administrators who was willing to speak out against it. Musa Bility's decision to stand against FIFA's attempt to "colonize" African soccer made him a target for the organization. Bility, who was once the head of the Liberia Football Association (LFA), became a vocal critic of FIFA's practices and was subsequently banned from soccer activities for six months by FIFA's Ethics Committee. Bility's ban came after he had publicly accused FIFA of corruption in the context of these colonial-style practices and involvement, particularly with regards to the organization's management of African soccer. He claimed that FIFA's policies and practices were harmful to African soccer, and that the organization was more interested in controlling African soccer than in developing the sport on the continent. Bility also claimed that FIFA's policies were responsible for the poor performance of African teams at the World Cup. Bility was doing all these at his own detriment when when knew the federation had the history of going after its critics. And so it did! In 2015, Bility was banned from participating in soccer-related activities for six months by FIFA's Ethics Committee, which accused him of misusing funds. Bility denied the charges and claimed that the ban was politically motivated. He filed an appeal, which was eventually dismissed by FIFA's Appeals Committee. Bility's ban was seen by many as a warning to other African soccer administrators who might speak out against FIFA's involvement in African soccer in the way the exploitative manner in which it did. It was also viewed as an attempt to silence Bility and other like-minded individuals who were working to challenge FIFA's control over African soccer. Despite the challenges he faced, Bility remained committed to fighting for the rights of African soccer players and administrators. He continued to speak out against FIFA's involvement in African soccer and called for greater transparency and accountability in the management of African football associations. Musa Bility opposition to FIFA's involvement in African soccer in colonial-style manner led to him being banned from participating in soccer-related activities, which was seen as an attempt to silence him and others who shared his views. Giving 5 times more but accused of stealing one of what he gave FIFA did not stop at the silencing. From gifting $240, 616 USD to the Liberia Football Association (LFA) by Musa Bility, to Musa being accused by FIFA of taking $50,000 to the same organization, FIFA's drive to damage Musa's reputation to discredit him continue. It is important to note that the allegations made against Musa Bility by FIFA are just that - allegations. They have not been proven in a court of law and it is important to maintain the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Bility has been an advocate for greater transparency and accountability within the organization, particularly when it comes to its financial dealings. His efforts to reform the Liberia Football Association may have also put him at odds with FIFA's preferred approach to managing African soccer federations. FIFA's History of Targeting Critics It is also worth noting that FIFA has a history of using allegations of corruption to discredit its critics and maintain its hold on power. In recent years, the organization has faced significant public scrutiny and legal challenges over allegations of corruption and bribery. It is possible that FIFA may have seen Musa Bility as a threat to its authority in Africa and used the allegations against him as a way to undermine his credibility and reputation. Regardless of the motives behind FIFA's actions, it is clear that the allegations against Musa Bility have had a significant impact on his reputation and standing within the soccer community. It is up to the courts and the relevant authorities to determine the veracity of these allegations, but it is important to remember that Musa Bility, like anyone else, is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. FIFA's history of using allegations of corruption to discredit its critics and maintain its hold on power. FIFA, the international governing body of soccer, has a long history of using allegations of corruption to discredit its critics and maintain its hold on power. This has been documented in several high-profile cases and investigations over the years. One of the most notable cases involved the former president of FIFA, Sepp Blatter. In 2015, Swiss authorities launched an investigation into Blatter and other FIFA officials on charges of corruption, money laundering, and bribery. Blatter was accused of accepting bribes totaling millions of dollars in exchange for awarding lucrative broadcasting and marketing rights for soccer tournaments. Blatter denied the charges, but he was ultimately forced to resign as FIFA president in 2016. The investigation also led to the arrest and conviction of several other FIFA officials, including former Vice President Jack Warner, who was accused of accepting $10 million in bribes to vote for South Africa as the host of the 2010 World Cup. The investigation into Blatter and other FIFA officials was just one of many corruption scandals that have plagued the organization over the years. In fact, FIFA has faced allegations of corruption and wrongdoing dating back to at least the 1990s. Critics of FIFA have argued that the organization has used these corruption scandals to discredit its critics and maintain its hold on power. For example, in 2011, FIFA suspended the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) for allegedly mismanaging funds. The suspension was widely criticized as an attempt by FIFA to silence the NFF, which had been critical of FIFA's handling of corruption scandals. Similarly, Musa Bility, a former member of FIFA's Executive Committee and the former president of the Liberia Football Association (LFA), has been critical of FIFA in the past. In 2018, Bility accused FIFA of "trying to kill African soccer" by attempting to take over the Confederation of African Football (CAF). Bility's criticism of FIFA came after the organization suspended the CAF president, Ahmad Ahmad, over allegations of corruption. Bility argued that FIFA's actions were part of a broader attempt to exert control over African soccer and maintain its hold on power. Bility's accusations were not taken lightly by FIFA. In 2019, the organization banned Bility from all soccer-related activities for 10 years and fined him 500,000 Swiss francs (approximately $550,000 USD). The ban was based on allegations that Bility had violated FIFA's code of ethics by misappropriating funds and accepting bribes. Bility has denied the allegations, and his supporters argue that the ban was an attempt by FIFA to silence a critic of the organization. They point to the fact that Bility was not the first African soccer official to be accused of corruption by FIFA, and they argue that the organization has a history of targeting African officials who are critical of its policies. Another one of the most high-profile cases was the 2015 FIFA corruption case, which saw several FIFA executives arrested on charges of wire fraud, racketeering, and money laundering. The case was a major blow to FIFA's reputation, and many critics of the organization argued that the arrests were long overdue. However, FIFA has also been known to use allegations of corruption as a way to maintain its grip on power. For example, in 2011, FIFA launched an investigation into allegations of corruption against Mohamed Bin Hammam, the president of the Asian Football Confederation and a potential challenger to FIFA president Sepp Blatter. The investigation ultimately led to Bin Hammam being banned from football for life, effectively eliminating him as a threat to Blatter's reign. However, the investigation was widely criticized as being politically motivated, with many arguing that FIFA was simply trying to protect its own interests rather than genuinely rooting out corruption. Similarly, FIFA has been accused of targeting other officials and organizations that have spoken out against its policies. For example, in 2017, FIFA suspended the Pakistani Football Federation after alleging that the organization had been "infiltrated" by a third party. The move was widely criticized as being a thinly veiled attempt to silence critics of FIFA's policies in Pakistan. One high-profile example of FIFA's tactics was the 2011 investigation into allegations of bribery involving members of the FIFA Executive Committee. The investigation was initiated after two members of the committee were caught on camera accepting bribes from undercover journalists posing as lobbyists for a United States bid to host the World Cup. The investigation was led by Michael Garcia, an independent investigator hired by FIFA to look into the allegations. However, when Garcia's investigation uncovered evidence of widespread corruption and bribery within FIFA, including evidence of bribery in the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids to Russia and Qatar, FIFA suppressed the findings. Instead of releasing the full report, FIFA released a summary that cleared Russia and Qatar of any wrongdoing and blamed individuals rather than systemic corruption for the problems uncovered by the investigation. Garcia later resigned in protest, accusing FIFA of censorship and saying that the summary report misrepresented his findings. The full report was eventually leaked to the media, confirming the widespread corruption and bribery within FIFA that Garcia had uncovered. Another example of FIFA's use of allegations of corruption to discredit its critics is the case of Chuck Blazer, a former member of the FIFA Executive Committee who was accused of accepting millions of dollars in bribes. Blazer became a whistleblower after being caught by the FBI in a separate investigation and agreed to cooperate with the authorities. Blazer's cooperation led to the indictment and conviction of several high-ranking FIFA officials, including former president Sepp Blatter. However, Blazer's reputation was also damaged by the allegations of corruption against him, and he died in disgrace in 2017. The case of Musa Bility, the former president of the Liberia Football Association who was accused by FIFA of taking a bribe, is another example of FIFA's tactics. Bility had been a vocal critic of FIFA and had challenged the organization's leadership. In 2018, Bility was accused by FIFA of taking a $50,000 bribe from a former FIFA official, and he was banned from soccer-related activities for 10 years.

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