U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security, will hold a hearing entitled "Examining the Governance and Integrity of International Soccer" on Wednesday, July 15, 2015, at 2:30 p.m.
The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) is the international nonprofit that organizes the World Cup tournament and is responsible for the global regulation and promotion of soccer. The hearing will examine the integrity and impending leadership changes at FIFA, the role of the United States in international soccer, and concerns about the labor conditions of workers in Qatar, the host of the 2022 World Cup. The Consumer Protection Subcommittee exercises jurisdiction over sports within the Senate Commerce Committee.
“Soccer is by far the most popular sport in the world, and it is attracting a wider audience by the day in the United States,” said Sen. Moran. "Children across America and the globe look up to athletes as role models, and professional sports must be held to the highest standards. The recent revelations of bribery and mismanagement at FIFA should be of concern to us all. The organization’s culture of corruption is turning a blind eye to significant human rights violations and the tragic loss of lives. This hearing on the recent FIFA scandals will begin the discussion about our country’s own participation in the organization, ways the United States and our allies can work to reform FIFA, and how we can restore integrity to the game so many Americans and citizens of the world enjoy.”
- Mr. Andrew Jennings, Investigative Writer and Filmmaker
- Mr. Dan Flynn, CEO and Secretary General, U.S. Soccer Federation
- Mr. Michael Hershman, President and CEO, Fairfax Group
- Mr. Sunjeev Bery, Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Amnesty International USA
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security
Senate Russell Office Building, Room 253
Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on this page.
For reporters interested in reserving a seat, please contact the press gallery:
• Periodical Press Gallery – 202-224-0265
• Radio/Television Gallery – 202-224-6421
• Press Photographers Gallery – 202-224-6548
• Daily Press Gallery – 202-224-0241
Individuals with disabilities who require an auxiliary aid or service, including closed captioning service for the webcast hearing, should contact Stephanie Gamache at 202-224-5511 at least three business days in advance of the hearing date.
Chairman Jerry Moran
"This hearing of the Subcommittee is called to order. I would like to thank today’s witnesses for participating in this important hearing regarding international soccer governance. I’m not one who generally thinks Congress should investigate every scandal in the world of professional sports. Nor do I believe the topic we are discussing today will lead to legislation that must be enacted. But as chairman of this subcommittee with jurisdiction over professional sports, I do believe this is a critical issue that deserves the public’s attention.
"By shining a light on the corruption, bribery and other criminal activity that has been a part of international soccer for far too long, my hope is that the American people, current and future sponsors, and media companies that support the game today will better understand the consequences of allowing the organization governing soccer to continue without reform, including the tragic loss of life. According to some reports, as many 4,000 migrant workers will die before the first ball is kicked at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. That is appalling and unacceptable.
"Soccer is by far the most popular sport in the world. It is truly a global institution that connects humanity across language, culture and continent. Soccer is attracting a wider audience by the day right here in the United States. One must look no further than the excitement surrounding the U.S. Women’s National Team winning the 2015 Women’s World Cup last week to see the impact soccer has on our lives.
"Along with this excitement comes billions of dollars in annual revenue from TV contracts, sponsorships and endorsements. That’s why the revelations of bribery, corruption and mismanagement at FIFA and CONCACAF are so troubling. I’m even more disturbed by as reports of migrant workers losing their lives in preparation for the world’s biggest soccer tournament, the World Cup.
"In fact, bribery, corruption and criminal activity within international soccer is so serious that on May 27, 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice unsealed a 47-count indictment against nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives charging the defendants with racketeering, bribery, wire fraud and money laundering. Four other individuals and two corporate defendants have also pled guilty to various charges. And Swiss investigators are now investigating 81 suspicious activities related to money laundering in connection with the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids.
"This culture of corruption must be addressed.
"With the announcement that FIFA President Blatter plans to step down, we’re at a crossroads for the future of soccer. Now is the time for the United States and U.S. Soccer Federation to engage and determine how we can encourage meaningful reforms as well as elect a leader at FIFA who will spearhead long overdue changes within the organization.
"The goal of this hearing is to have a serious and meaningful conversation about how to address FIFA’s culture of corruption, the United States’ participation in the organization, and the human rights violations stemming from the organization’s lapses in integrity. Without evidence that reforms are being implemented, we must examine our country’s own participation in FIFA and how we can restore integrity to the world of soccer. We cannot turn a blind eye to this issue any longer, especially when human lives are on the line."
Witness Panel 1
Mr. Andrew JenningsInvestigative Writer and Filmmaker
Mr. Dan FlynnCEO and Secretary GeneralU.S. Soccer Federation
Mr. Michael HershmanPresident and CEOFairfax Group
Mr. Sunjeev BeryAdvocacy Director for the Middle East and North AfricaAmnesty International USA