When the World Cup and Crisis Communications Collide




For FIFA, the organization behind the World Cup, this year’s tournament has been a veritable minefield of scandals, questions and criticism, in addition to riveting action, of course. Yet thanks to what happened on the field when Italy faced off against Uruguay in the Group Round, FIFA may be facing its most pressing crisis yet. As Blue Engine’s David Di Martino points out in a piece for US News and World Report, the moment when “serial biter” Luis Suarez chomped an Italian player on the shoulder in the second half wasn’t just a turning point for the World Cup, it put FIFA at a crossroads for its future. Di Martino lays out his suggestions for FIFA, if they were a client of his in need of crisis communications. His prescription? Immediate action to show that FIFA takes player safety seriously, much-needed officiating reforms and steps to ensure that no future team thinks it is acceptable to field a player with a history of causing intentional physical harm on his opponents – that the “integrity of the game comes before winning.”

In explaining how important this moment is for FIFA, Di Martino writes, “What happens in the immediate aftermath of this incident will establish how serious FIFA is about clamping down on biting. What FIFA does long term will ensure the beautiful game isn’t only known for the beautiful bite.” Di Martino’s column may be about soccer, but he points out how organizations respond to major crisis moments defines their future. What’s the old saying? Once bitten… Read more.