Posts Tagged ‘Dylan Morley’

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar has caused a reputation crisis for FIFA

December 8, 2022

“It’s the most controversial World Cup in recent history and a ball hasn’t even been kicked. Ever since FIFA chose Qatar back in 2010, the smallest nation to host football’s greatest competition has faced some big questions. 

From accusations of corruption in the bidding process to the treatment of migrant workers who’ve built the stadiums where many lost their lives. Homosexuality is illegal here and women’s rights are also in the spotlight. Also the decision to switch the tournament from summer to winter. 

Against that backdrop, there is a tournament to be played here that will be watched and enjoyed around the world. Stick to football, say FIFA, well we will – for a couple of minutes at least.” 

Those were the words of former England footballer turned BBC presenter Gary Lineker as he opened coverage of the world’s most illustrious football tournament. He made it clear to viewers that the World Cup being hosted in Qatar is surrounded by scandal and it is not just Qatar that should be under the spotlight but world football’s governing body FIFA. 

This is not just the view of Gary Lineker but many people in both the football world and outside of that. Roy Keane speaking live from Qatar told ITV viewers that, “It’s been mentioned about the corruption with FIFA, the way they treat migrant workers, gay people…it’s great that it’s been brought up. They shouldn’t have the World Cup here; you can’t treat people like that.” It is such comments from high-profile footballing names like Lineker and Keane that has helped to drive increased media spotlight on Qatar and FIFA. 

You might be asking now, ‘How the hell were they ever even selected to host the tournament?’. The US Department of Justice reportedly claims that bribes were taken by high-ranking officials during the selection of Russia and Qatar as the tournament hosts for both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. These are accusations that are denied by both Russian and Qatari officials. Of course, the words of these regimes have proven so honourable in the past!

FIFA’s reputation amongst football fans has always been one of caution in recent years. In 2015, FIFA headquarters were raided by the FBI and Swiss authorities in connection with an investigation into corruption by officials within the organisation and other associates connected. This investigation led to the removal of Sepp Blatter as FIFA President and investigations into the bidding process for both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, as mentioned above. 

When former UEFA official, Gianni Infantino, was elected President of FIFA in February 2016. He was elected to bring in a new dawn of respected and responsible governance to world football. However, his reign as president has failed to do just that. Infantino has instead overseen an organisation that has been dogmented by its past, failing to usher in that new dawn in which all football fans across the world hoped for.

Infantino remained silent when people criticised the holding of the 2018 World Cup in Russia despite Putin’s annexation of Crimea at the time and his regime’s anti-LGBTQ stance. Criticism of the bidding process into the 2018 World Cup and Russia’s holding of the tournament has become increasingly controversial post the event. Most partly due to the rise of what we now know as ‘sportswashing’ and Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine earlier this year.

In fact, these two issues have also contributed to the increased media scrutiny on current World Cup host Qatar this time round. A nation in which Amnesty International says, “Despite government reforms, migrant workers continued to face labour abuses and struggled to change jobs freely. Curtailment of freedom of expression increased in the run-up to FIFA World Cup 2022. Women and LGBTI people continued to face discrimination in law and practice.”

For Infantino, this is not Russia 2018 and he can no longer ignore the questions being asked by fans, players, football associations, and governments across the world. His and FIFA’s response to those questions centred around the issues described by Amnesty International, above, have left him and the organisation facing even further scrutiny and reputational damage.

On the eve of the tournament kicking off, Infantino held a press conference where hit out at the critics of FIFA, Qatar, and the decision to hold the World Cup there. He remarked, “What we Europeans have been doing for the last 3,000 years, we should be apologising for the next 3,000 years before starting to give moral lessons.” This comment was followed up with a series of personal confessions by Infantino in which he strangely said, “Today I feel Qatari. Today I feel Arab. Today I feel African. Today I feel gay. Today I feel disabled. Today I feel a migrant worker.” That was after Infantino told a packed press conference that he knew how it felt to be discriminated against because as a child he was teased for having red hair and freckles. 

This press conference by the FIFA President was met with much backlash, as many felt that he belittled the groups affected by the discriminations of the Qatari regime, especially members of the LBGTQ community and migrant workers. FIFA’s reputation took another hit only days later when it decided that it would book players who dared to wear the ‘OneLove’ armband onto the field of play during the course of the tournament. This came as many European nations had decided that the team captain would do this to show solidarity with the LGBTQ community in Qatar and across the world. 

On the back of this penalty, those countries who proposed to wear the armband decided not to do so. Subsequently, FIFA has remained relatively quiet on this decision but only to reinforce their ruling when asked to comment. It seems the approach of FIFA to negative publicity and public outcry over the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is to remain silent on the issues and when they do speak to defend their actions. Even if they are deemed to be extremely unpopular ones, especially in the West.

FIFA’s shaky reputation has taken a hammering in the last few weeks over the World Cup being held in Qatar. And it is clear that Gianni Infantino has not ushered in a new regime that many football fans would have hoped for when he became FIFA President in 2016. His actions of late are proven evidence of this.

Recently, the much disgraced former FIFA President, Sepp Blatter, admitted that it was a mistake to award Qatar the World Cup. If FIFA wants to start to repair its reputation, then its current president could follow Blatter’s lead by doing the same.

Despite all of this, the football continues and while money and corruption brought (or bought!) the tournament to this inappropriate location there has been some refreshing “purity” to the actual matches, The best players from a country play the best players from another country, and unlike club football where the teams such as Manchester City and PSG can buy success we are refreshingly seeing the opposite, with many surprises and shock exits.

So while football is actually winning, it is a real pity that the teams and the players did not come together, wear their armbands or even refuse to play at all. They are the attraction, the ones who have built the fantastic reputation of the World Cup and despite the best efforts of FIFA it still continues to be the most fantastic, celebration festival of football in the world..

Dylan

Dylan Morley is an Account Executive at Fuzion Communications, full service marketing and PR agency, with offices in Cork and Dublin.

21 Questions with…Dylan Morley

September 16, 2022

welcome to the eighth of our Fuzion Friday series, where we put 21 devilishly difficult questions to a team member, giving you an insight that Freud would be proud of.

Next up is Ronaldo and 1984 fan…..Dylan!

  1. Tell us something about you that nobody else in the team might know?

I have never had a pint of Guinness 

  1. What film have you watched more than five times?

Shrek 2.

  1. What work are you most proud of in the past year?

Completing my MA in Public Relations with New Media.

  1. Dream job?

Supreme Leader of Ireland (with the six counties back) or Public Relations Officer for Man Utd.

  1. Favourite brand? – Why?

Coca-Cola – because of the series finale ending scene in Mad Men and the Christmas advertisement.

  1. Favourite Holiday Destination?

Rome – the eternal city.

  1. Best lesson from your career?

Always try to answer your phone and if you can’t, then always return the call.

  1. Eurovision or World Cup?

World Cup.

  1. Who is the joker on the team?

Ciarán – but the bar is low.

  1. Recommend a podcast.

The WinHappy Podcast, obviously.

  1. Reality shows – Love or Hate?

LOVE.

  1. Dinner party with 3 people – dead or alive – who do you invite?

Alex Ferguson, Ronald Reagan, and Margot Robbie.

  1. If you could be anywhere in the world – where would you be & what would you do?

Cork and working for Fuzion.

  1. Who is your role model?

Siiiiiiiiiiiiuu – Cristiano Ronaldo.

  1. What was your first job?

Pizza Chef.

  1. Death Row meal?

Chinese.

  1. Favourite book?

1984.

  1. Your a grammar Nazi oar not?

Depends on my mood.

  1. First album you bought or downloaded?

None – I’m too young for that, I grew up with Spotify. 

  1. Work from home – or office?

Hybrid.

  1. Most memorable ad slogans –

Kellogg’s Rice Krispies – ‘Snap, Crackle, and Pop’.

Dylan Morley is an Account Executive at Fuzion Communications, full service marketing and PR agency, with offices in Cork and Dublin.

Football & Brand Loyalty

August 29, 2022

The recent return of the Premier League for its now 31st season has begun to intensify rivalry and debate with the offices of Fuzion Communications.

As a Manchester United fan, I have been on the receiving end of most of the mockery that has taken place. However, it has not stopped me defending my club like I am a player or member of the coaching staff. In turn, this led me to think about why we show such loyalty to our football clubs compared to other brands, businesses, and organisations.

The process of being a fan of a football club is clear. You start to like football, you watch a couple of matches, you select the club you want to follow, and you support that club for the rest of your life. Seems easy and hassle free doesn’t it!

In reality, it is often not so easy and not so hassle free.

I first started to watch football in the 2007/08 season. At this time, Manchester United were the current English champions and my dad, a Leeds United fan, told me they were the biggest and best club in England, if not the world. Me being me, only the biggest and best would do and so I became a Man Utd supporter. Over the next six seasons, I would see Man Utd win four Premier Leagues, a Champions League, two League Cups, and a Club World Cup. Then Sir Alex Ferguson decided to retire as manager in 2013 and our reign of success came to an end.

Fast forward nine years, and I have not seen Man Utd win another Premier League title. This would have been unimaginable to think the day I started supporting the club and not just to me or Man Utd fans but to every other football supporter across the globe. So, after nearly a decade of no league titles and relatively little success, why do I or even should I continue to support the club?

Over the last few years,  I have been a generally unhappy and dissatisfied Man Utd supporter. If I was unhappy with any other brand, business, and organisation, then I would simply switch to a competitor, if available. There are plenty of football clubs that I could support instead. I am sure being a Manchester City or Liverpool FC supporter over the last few years would have made my life much easier (although United supporters do hold the bragging rights over Liverpool fans at the moment!).

The key reason why football fans do not decide to ditch their team for another comes down to brand identity. In any business or organisation, brand identity should be considered the essence of the brand. A strategic goal of any brand strategy is to develop a pathway for the ‘returning customer’. Creating a distinct and attractive brand identity allows you to further brand loyalty and retain it over the long-term.

To identify successfully with any customer or fan, your brand needs to include features that appeal to and satisfy their needs. Your brand identity should have characteristics, traits, and values that match your customer or fan-base, while also having a clear distinction from competitors. This allows you to build a high level of prestige for your brand and enables fans or customers to perceive their favourite team/brand as attractive and share a common identity with other fans. You will see greater brand loyalty translate because of this strategic approach.

The benefit of greater brand loyalty is important to the long-term sustainable future of any business or organisation. For those who partake in brand loyalty, whether consciously or not, they do so without cost being a significant factor, as they perceive a higher quality and better service than other brands.

Brand loyalty can only be considered as reached when customers repeatedly purchase a particular brand. For example, a regular cup of coffee at Starbucks can cost about 2-3 times as much as at a filling station or supermarket and you are not guaranteed the same product or service at different locations around the world. However, people will still queue in Starbucks stores, even if they are running late, for their coffee fix.

When you achieve brand loyalty then there are two reasons that a fan or customer will stay loyal: hope and expectation. Your brand’s loyal customer base will be hoping and expecting for a certain standard of product or service.

It is important to remember that achieving brand loyalty does not mean that you have that customer for life. That is where football clubs and more traditional business-orientated brands differ. It is much easier to ditch your regular brand of washing powder than your football club. You must keep your customers with a level of hope and expectation to retain brand loyalty.

But as is often said in sport and life, ‘it is the hope that kills you’!

Dylan

Dylan Morley is a PR account executive with Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency who operate from offices in Dublin and Cork

LIV vs. PGA: How the Issue of Sportswashing Has Thrown the World of Golf into Disarray

June 16, 2022

The creation of the LIV Golf Invitational Series has sparked huge controversary and casts real
doubt over the future of golf.

This new golf tour is financed by the Public Investment Fund, the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia. You may recognise the Saudi PIF, as it was also in the news late last year after its purchase of Premier League club, Newcastle United.

The LIV Golf tour, along with the purchase of Newcastle United, has sparked much public debate because it is seen as an attempt at sportswashing by the Saudi Arabian regime and its Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman.

Sportswashing is a relatively new concept, but the term itself derives from the more familiar ‘greenwashing’. The process of an organisation spending more time and money on marketing itself as environmentally friendly than on actually minimizing its environmental impact.

Sportswashing is just as deceitful as greenwashing. Sportswashing is the practice of an individual, group, corporation, or government using sports to improve their reputation, by either hosting a sporting event, the purchase or sponsorship of a sports team, or direct participation in the sport itself. For world leaders, the practice of sportswashing is a strategy of reputation management. It is being increasingly adopted by countries with historically poor records when it comes to human rights.

In the case of the LIV Golf Series, it is Saudi Arabia and its leadership that has come under intense media pressure within the sports world. Saudi Arabia is a particularly repressive regime, with an appalling human rights record. For those living in Saudi Arabia, ‘freedom of expression, association, and belief’ are not seen as basic human rights.

People who defy the rules of the Saudi regime, can suffer dire consequences as a result. The Saudi Crown Prince, Bin Salman, has been accused of committing several high-profile crimes including the killing of journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, in 2018.

Given the distance in belief systems from the Saudi regime and those of us in the West, it is surprising that so many prominent and successful golfers have agreed deals to participate in the inaugural LIV Golf Series. Some of the players that have committed to participate so far, include the likes of Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Louis Oosthuizen, Sergio Garcia, Bryson De Chambeau and Ireland’s own Graeme McDowell. All of those mentioned above are previous Major winners.

On the back of their participation in the Saudi PIF funded LIV Golf Series, all LIV players have been suspended from participating in PGA Tour events.

When questioned on their participation in this new tournament the LIV rebel golfers have rubbished claims that they hold any responsibility for allowing the Saudi regime to use the sport of golf in their own sportswashing game. Graeme McDowell argued at a LIV press conference that “as golfers if we tried to cure geopolitical situations in every country in the world, we played golf in, we wouldn’t play a lot of golf.” This remark, in turn, could be seen as a dig at golf’s traditional PGA Tour. Another Irish golfer, Rory McIlroy, has hit out at the LIV Golf Series on numerous occasions over the last few months and has backed the PGA Tour’s decision to suspend those participating in LIV events from the PGA. “I certainly don’t envy them, but I’ve always felt this is the best place to play golf, and I still believe that”, McIlroy said speaking to the media after winning the 2022 Canadian Open.

The establishment of the LIV Golf Invitational Series, along with the participation of some of golf’s most decorated and celebrated players has shaken the world of golf over the last week. Those players subsequent suspensions from the PGA Tour have led to speculation that they could be banned from playing in future Major tournaments and even, the Ryder Cup. Any ban from participating in golf’s four Majors and the Ryder Cup could signal the death of golf as we know it.

The ever-increasing debate around sportswashing will continue to fracture long-standing relationships in golf and across the world of sport, as this important societal issue continues to come to the forefront of not just sport, but business, civil and political society.

The issue of sportswashing will begin to show the true characters of our favourite sports stars, clubs, and competitions. The more instances of this kind, the more our loyalties will be tested as sports fans.

Is everything and everyone for sale, including our reputations?

Dylan

Dylan Morley is a Junior Account Executive with Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing and PR agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland.


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