Between the Green Pitch and the Red Tape: The Private Legal Order of FIFA
FIFA, the world governing body of football (or soccer, as it is known in some countries), has long been associated with the World Cup and, lately, corruption scandals. Less known is FIFA's success in building a private legal order that competes with public orders. This study explains how and why this private legal order has succeeded in governing the behavior of the involved actors and keeping them away from regular courts. We argue that the ability of the order to offer what other governance modes cannot is key: FIFA, as a transnational private authority, offers harmonized institutions that apply across national borders and, in many cases, are better accustomed to the needs of the involved parties. State-made alternatives, on the other hand, are often based on a one-size-fits-all approach and lack certainty of application. In addition, FIFA's rules increase the gains of clubs and prominent footballers. While the interests of some other involved parties--lesser-known players in particular--might be better served by the application of formal State laws, the established equilibrium discourages deviation. This study contributes to a better understanding of alternative modes of institutional design, particularly by illustrating how private orders function in an environment where reputation plays a limited role.