Buying Professional Services – How Did FIFA Engage Platini?

Having co-written that huge international best seller*, Buying Professional Services, published in 2010 by the Economist Books, the world of consulting and related industries continues to be of interest to me up to the current day.

There are a few basics of good practice that we look for when analysing any procurement process for a professional services contract. We might apply these in order to assess the strength of the process, or indeed on occasions to look into accusations of fraud, corruption or just to consider basic capability. Here are some of the most important.

  1. Was there a reasonable level of competition to determine the best supplier to provide the service?
  2. Was there a clear definition of the outputs, deliverables or products that would be delivered, and clarity on how the payments related to those deliverables?
  3. Was the contract managed, particularly in the sense of ensuring that those deliverables were provided satisfactorily by the supplier?
  4. Was the administration of the contract well organised, with clear audit trails, including any “payment by results” issues and final sign-off?

So those seem like good questions to ask FIFA, Sept Blatter and Michel Platini, as the investigators into the dealings of that organisation and individuals within it continue. Platini was paid 2 million Swiss Francs (£1.3 million) in 2011, strangely enough apparently relating to “technical services” he provided to FIFA in 1999-2002. We don’t know yet what those services were, how FIFA decided that was a fair price, what was delivered by Platini ... there are many questions that no doubt the authorities will want answering.

It just so happens that Platini decided in 2011 not to stand against Blatter for election to the head of FIFA; pure coincidence of course that the payment was made just at that time. I guess Platini just forgot (for  almost 10 years) to invoice for the work he did ...

We have foxes living under our shed; whilst they are lovely to watch as they play in the morning sunshine, the deposits they leave on the lawn smell like hell’s cesspit. FIFA and its well dressed, affluent, powerful men (all men, you note) are beginning to suggest that analogy. I’d be happy to take a look at Platini’s consulting contract, as an expert in the subject; does it meet good practice, I wonder? If it doesn’t, his chances of leading FIFA – and staying out of prison – may be doubtful.

* sarcasm alert

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