FIFA Corruption Leads To Arrests
United States law enforcement officials declared that their investigation into the corruption of the international soccer organization, FIFA, has only just begun with the arrest of several FIFA officials and sports management executives.
Swiss authorities and United States officials joined together in Zurich on Wednesday morning to arrest several top soccer officials and extradite them to the United States on federal corruption charges. The officials were taken from their hotel in Zurich as they gathered for FIFA’s annual meeting.
In an article released by the New York Times, the Justice Department, F.B.I. and I.R.S. described the situation as “individuals and organizations engaged in bribery to decide who would televise games, where the games would be held, and who would run the organization overseeing organized soccer worldwide.”
The investigation charges allege widespread corruption, including World Cup bid procedures and marketing deals, for over two decades. Racketeering, wire fraud, and money laundering conspiracy are among the charges listed.
The current indictment references 25 unnamed co-conspirators ranging from FIFA officials to World Cup bid committee members.
In addition to FIFA officials, the indictment also names sports-marketing executives accused of paying more than $150 million in bribes and kickbacks in exchange for media deals associated with major soccer events. The officials conspired with marketing executives to “shut out competitors and keep highly lucrative contracts for themselves through systematic payment of bribes and kickbacks.”
As the investigation continues, FIFA President, Sepp Blatter is not among the accused. An upcoming presidential election favoring Mr. Blatter for his fifth term scheduled for Friday is expected to proceed as planned.
The Justice Department built their case with the help of a former FIFA official, Chuck Blazer, who pleaded guilty in federal court back in 2013. Blazer turned in $1.9 million during his guilty plea and is set to make a second payment at sentencing.
Although FIFA and its executives have faced controversies in the past, this is FIFA’s first involvement with charges of federal crimes in United States court.
As this investigation continues, FIFA welcomes any actions that can help contribute to rooting out any wrongdoing in the sport.