The Guardian reports a “row” over Lord Stevens’ report into football corruption with Richard Scudamore, the Premier League chief executive, being accused of influencing the outcome. This raises a number of considerations of interest to public relations practitioners:
- does advice become influence if it is taken?
- is it “wrong” to lobby – and how does that impact on a report’s “independence”?
- if you don’t get what you want – is it okay to keep up the pressure (as hinted in Scudamore’s memo)?
- why is it acceptable to undertake one-way communications (giving advice) but not two-way (having discussions)?
- why are bodies such as the Premier League and the Football Association seen as adversaries rather than working together for the good reputation of their sport?
- why don’t most people see ethics as something driven by having personal values rather than what you can best get away with?
Britain is not alone in questioning the values of those behind “the beautiful game“. Poland, Kenya, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Portugal… no wonder that global soccer boss, Sepp Blatter has named corruption as top of the list of the game’s problems. And with media comments all citing “the reputation of the game”, clearly public relations needs to have a strategic role in the future rather than the more traditional “control” press agentry approach all too often evident.