It is October 2025.
Mia Sundhage is on her way to the office. The former football player and coach really enjoys her job as head of FIFA, the international football federation.
Since she took over – and since the organisation really cleaned itself up after the corruption scandal back in 2014 – the world of football is such a good place.
She thinks for a short while about how bad it used to be: FIFA was full of corrupt gold diggers who put money in their own pockets instead of working for the best for the football community. 14 out 22 FIFA executives got charged for corruption, for heaven’s sake! Four confederation presidents were charged with corruption or banned from football, among them the heads of FIFA and UEFA.
Mia shrugs with disgust. Luckily those bad days are long gone.
The fans have now got a much bigger part in ruling the organisation that represents them. They have elected sane and competent people to lead the different country federations.
The organisation is now as transparent as can be. Everybody can see where the money is going and how decisions are made. There is a more fair allocation of FIFA’s money. No more putting money in pockets or hiding them in private offshore accounts. Instead the focus has been on lifting the women’s, and grassroot, football which had been ignored for a long time.
Most happy is Mia about the fact that the World Cup 2022 for men was never played in Qatar. It all started with a fan uproar, lobbied by a certain Swedish football app apparently.
Big Britain did an excellent job in organising that tournament instead, even though the decision to move it was taken really late. For the first time ever fans could watch the World Cup matches for free. The tickets were distributed through a world wide lottery.
And to organise both the women’s and the men’s World Cup at the same time in the same country was a big success. The stadiums were packed for all games, and the women finally got the attention they deserved.
The fans have chosen a fine place for the next World Cup: Freeland – a country which puts a lot of work into enforcing human rights. And the people of Freeland of course got to vote beforehand if they wanted to host it or not. They know about the high costs and the environmental footprint of hosting the tournament.
In the last five years the clubs too have started to listen more to the fans. Ticket prices have been lowered from the absurdly high levels they used to be at in England and Spain. These days normal people can actually go and see their favourite team play, not just rich tourists. The fans feel part of the clubs again.
And that goes for women’s football clubs too. Since more big companies started to sponsor teams and leagues the interest for the previously neglected sex has grown really big. The newspapers and tv channels nowadays treat the women’s sport in the same way they report on the men’s matches. And as a result more women now earn good money for the hard work they put in.
There is still some work to do in the fight against homophobia. It sure helped the cause when superstar Lionel Ronaldo came out during his final season as the first active gay male player. In most parts of the world the HBTQ people are treated with respect and we have recently started to see a positive trend in areas where homophobia used to be widespread.
During Mia’s reign the battle against racism has really paid off. Punishing the clubs who didn’t deal with their racist fans hard enough finally gave the wanted result. Nowadays we never hear monkey sounds in the stadiums. It almost sounds unreal that we actually let that happen in the past. No wonder some black players walked off the pitch. Mia would have done the same!
As she gets into her office, she takes out her smartphone to check what the notification was about. YES! Her granddaughter’s team has just scored a goal in the important league match against their bitter rivals. Thank you, Forza Football for keeping me up to date with a Girl 11 league match in Skåne, Sweden. That's actually more important to her than El Clásico which comes up in the coming days and people can’t stop talking about.
Soon Mia will be able to spend more time with little Lily. She has to step down next year. The maximum limit on how long you can be the head of FIFA (and a national association or federation) is eight years. She has mixed feelings about leaving this job. It has been so much fun to put hope back into football and repair the name of FIFA. They have managed to restore the fans' respect and are now really listening to their visions and wishes. She did well.