Survey shows football fans still believe FIFA corruption issues stand

The majority of football fans from across the world believe that corruption remains the No. 1 problem within FIFA and that it is still a discredited organisation despite president Gianni Infantino's major reforms.

With Infantino marking one year in office on Feb. 26, a survey by Transparency International of over 25,000 fans from 50 countries showed that he still has a long way to go to win them over. More than half (53 percent) said that they did not have any confidence in world football's governing body with only 26 percent claiming that he had restored trust in FIFA.

When asked about what concerned them most, 98 percent of fans said corruption, identifying match-fixing as the most pressing issue (66 percent) followed by bribing of referees (56 percent), third party ownership (30 percent) and human rights abuses (29 percent). Only a third felt that the organisation is actively working to combat corruption.

With the 2018 World Cup less than 18 months away, 43 percent of fans said they did not approve of Russia as the next host. Criminal investigations are still continuing by American and Swiss authorities into the awarding of the tournament in addition to Qatar 2022.

The comprehensive survey of global football fans was carried out for the third consecutive year by Transparency International, the Berlin based governance body which monitors global corruption and the Forza Football app, an international fan opinion platform.

The survey also highlighted some national differences over how FIFA is viewed. 71 percent of Chileans and 70 percent of Germans and Dutch said they had no confidence in world football's governing body compared with 33 percent of Italians and 41 percent of Russians.

There was however, a glimmer of hope for Infantino and his drive to resurrect FIFA. Last year's survey found that 69 percent of global fans had no faith in the organisation, (compared to the current 53 percent), following the departure of Sepp Blatter.

Cobus de Swardt of Transparency International said: "It takes more than words to win back trust. A year is a short time to turn around an organisation that had become synonymous with corruption, so we wait for more concrete actions. Sponsors haven't flocked back to FIFA because of its reputation and the World Cup in Russia will be a test of its principles in action."

Patrik Arnesson, chief executive and founder of Forza Football added: "It is worrying that, for the second year in a row, the majority of fans from across the world do not have confidence in FIFA. The organisation, which last year hit an all-time low, should speak for the fans but it is clear that isn't the case, since only 32 percent of supporters have faith.

"We have reached out to FIFA to ask if they would like our help so that they can better understand fan opinion. We are still waiting for their reply. We hope that they get back to us so that together we can help restore faith in the world's most popular sport."