What is the worst sports governing body in the world?

The NFL? The IOC? FIFA? Someone outside the usual suspects?

The bump to the Qatar World Cup rumblings inspired this question.

By many measures the NFL is the BEST sports governing body that has ever existed.

All the corruption and politics you see in the IOC and FIFA are, I am sad to report, pretty normal for sports governing bodies. You see that kind of horror in junior hockey associations. I’d have trouble nominating an organization that is, at least, pretty successful on the business side of things.

If any of the three you mentioned will ever be up for serious discussion, it’s the IOC, which is again starting to run out of cities who even want to host the Olympics at all.

I haven’t followed the sport for a while but I’m sure that any of the governing bodies for boxing have to be at the top of the list.

I don’t know too much about the NFL. The IOC seem to have cleaned up their act to some extent. Though I would not underestimate the possibility of more IOC corruption yet to be discovered. FIFA dont seem to have cleaned up their act one bit. Some of the boxing governing bodies are laughably bad.

Oh man, how did I forget this? Thread won.

As recently as 50, 60 years ago, the biggest sports in the United States were baseball and boxing. (Well, and horse racing, but that’s its own thing.) If you had told someone in 1954 that the day would come, in the lifetime of many people living then, that baseball would be relegated to second place behind football, and that boxing would be marginalized and almost forgotten by most sports fans, they would have thought you insane. It would have been exactly like me telling you today than in 2050, the NFL won’t really be a big deal; Major League Soccer will reign supreme over pro sports, and by the way absolutely no one will give a shit about professional golf.

You can’t really blame baseball for falling behind football because actually baseball is doing really well, the NFL is just going awesomer. But boxing just fell apart completely. It’s really not that long ago that whomever was the heavyweight champion of the world was by default one of the most famous athletes on earth; I would wager any reasonably involved sports fan would recognize the name of almost every man who held the title from the 1940s to the 1980s, even if they weren’t much of a boxing fan. I doubt anyone can even keep track anymore. Right now there are four heavyweight champions, and at one point a few years ago I believe there were six. The consensus champion is, I guess, Wladimir Klitschko, who is probably not one of the fifty most popular athletes in the world and who most people wouldn’t know if they passed him on the street. That’s not his fault, he is one of the greatest boxers who ever lived, but the world of pro boxing is a complete shitshow.

Which are also some of the same reasons it is the worst. Huge amount of power and profitability. It must be stopped.

I wouldn’t really be shocked by this. Surprised, sure, but I don’t think that’s a gigantic stretch.

The NWA Board of Governors for suspending Dusty Rhodes just because he accidentally sorta hit Bob Geigel with a bat a little bit. They suspended Dusty for 90 days. Good thing Dusty’s “friend”, a masked wrestler known as The Midnight Rider, who looked and sounded a lot like Dusty, happened to be available to keep those nasty Horsemen in line.

My vote is for FIFA, but as a casual outsider, figure skating just reeks with fixed competitions and corrupt judges.

On a serious note, I think you could make a good argument for the NWA.

First, it lost control of its sport. The NWA used to be the sole governing body for professional wrestling but in the sixties rival organizations successfully challenged its control.

Second, while professional wrestling has certainly grown as a business, it has lost all credibility as a sport. And even as a business, I think it’s on the decline. It’s been plagued by scandals (and there’s no governing authority to address these) and it’s losing its audience to mixed martial arts.

I thought the breaking of “kayfabe” came when Vince McMahon admitted under oath that professional wrestling was fake. But that was the WWF, not the NWA.


The NCAA is pretty horrible. It’s a multi-billion dollar business built on the backs of unpaid workers, which is pretty remarkable in the post-Civil War era.

Tru dat. Though in Qatar, FIFA’s giving them a run for their money.

The NCAA stands alone, in America, at least.

The NCAA is corrupt AND incompetent AND amazingly impotent where it matters.

That was one of the nails in the coffin, for sure. The earliest serious break of kayfabe that I’ve heard about occurred in the 1930s, when a newspaper–possibly in Chicago–published the results prior to the matches actually happening.

On an unrelated note, at one point the WWF was a member of the NWA.

I’m gonna suggest the NWA doesn’t count because professional wrestling is not actually, you know, a sport, in the sense this thread clearly was meant to include. It’s like saying Universal Pictures is a bad sport governing body.

mcgato’s nomination of the International Skating Union is a fascinating one in that the ISU governs two very different categories of sport; figure skating and speed skating. Speed skating is, by any reasonable measure, a very well governed sport that makes an honest effort to fairly administer its competitions and improve itself. Figure skating is, of course, among the most corrupt sports in the world, even by the standards of judged competition.

The problem with figure skating is that it involves judging. In principle, it’s no different then Len, Bruno, and Carrie Ann handing out ratings on Dancing With The Stars.

I don’t follow soccer (football, whatever), but FIFA definitely seems to have the attitude of “No, I don’t give a crap. Now go away and let me count my bribe money.”

I say boxing must be among the worst, because these days it’s generally accepted that boxing is as scripted as any WWE match. Which is no doubt why it’s almost completely irrelevant in the US today.

Cricket.ICC is living in la la land.

FIFA seems pretty corrupt, but then I don’t watch soccer enough to provide instances outside of World Cup backroom deals.

MLB seems shady. From the performance enhancing drugs scandals they can’t seem to shake to the lopsided bankrolls large markets can throw around to buy up all the talent.

I read somewhere that boxing was popular in the '50s because it was so cheap to televise, and so it was shown a lot more than other sports. You needed one guy with a microphone, and one camera. (Having two guys with microphones probably came a little later, but that’s not exactly gonna break the bank.) As television became more popular, and its technical side became relatively cheaper, it became feasible to show other sports. Once it had competition for the TV audience, boxing’s popularity has waned.