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Switzerland Wins the (Corruption Perception) World Cup!

Posted  July 10, 2014

By Marlene Koury  

The 2014 FIFA World Cup has been for many fans a wave of ups (USA goalie Tim Howard’s amazing performance, the emergence of Columbia’s James Rodriguez as a global star) and downs (Brazilian children crying as Germany ran riot over the Brazilian team, Luis Suarez biting a competitor).  And with the final match just days away, legions of soccer fans eagerly await to see which team will walk away champions.

In the meantime, the CIPE Development Blog has decided the World Cup on grounds other than soccer fields (with a spin).  They did this by asking the question: what if World Cup matches were decided not on goals, but on the country’s level of corruption. (And allegations of corruption and soccer seem to go hand in hand – we’re looking at you, FIFA.)  Using this metric, Switzerland, the home country of FIFA’s President, Sepp Blatter, is the least corrupt country and the big World Cup winner.

CIPE looked at each match-up and assigned scores based on Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perceptions Index, which scores countries based on the perceived level of corruption on a scale of zero to 100.  A score of 100 means that the country is perceived as very clean.  CIPE looked to each team in the knockout rounds and assigned them their CPI numbers.  Once the numbers were assigned and the bracket was filled out, Switzerland (85) was the clear winner.  It beat out Argentina (34) in the round of 16, Belgium (75) in the quarter finals, the Netherlands (83) in the semifinals, and Germany (78) in the final match.  For the USA, the CPI-based scoring method captured the true-to-life loss of the USA (73) to Belgium (75) in the round of 16.

Unfortunately for Switzerland, the World Cup is decided on goals and it was eliminated in the round of 16 by a swift kick from Argentina.  But as CIPE’s Anna Dawson says, “Switzerland fans can take solace after their loss knowing that they win the CPI World Cup!”