The FIFA goals landmark controversy: a case for records keeping in international sports management
Lionel Messi’s record for the most goals scored in a calendar year is being officially challenged by both the Zambian Football Association and by Brazilian side Flamengo. The officially recognized tally by International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) is Gerd Muller’s 40 year record of 85 goals set by the Bayern Munich’s striker in 1972 but recently overtaken by the Barcelona superstar. The controversy generated by the foregoing points to a failure to manage records from the point of creation, capture and preservation. It remains a fact that records are created or received in the conduct of business activities and provide evidence and information about those activities. To serve this purpose, records should be authentic, reliable, have integrity and be usable. Manipulation of information is prevalent in the absence of well-managed records. What this saga epitomises is minimal recognition of the value of sports documents. As a consequence, activities such as records management are unfamiliar in many sports organisations and this brings to the fore issues of accountability, transparency and access to information. The controversy generated by this incident might turn out to be a blessing in disguise as it does put archives in the spotlight and it is therefore hoped the profession will be given the long overdue recognition in view of the fact archives as resource centres are in a state of neglect particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.