It has been well known for quite some time that some officials at FIFA, soccer’s global governing body, have been corrupt; now they are finally being charged for their actions. Early Wednesday morning, accusations became actions as Swiss officials began apprehending FIFA officials in their hotel ahead of FIFA’s annual meetings where a new president is set to be elected. Those who have been arrested are set to be extradited to the United States.
“These 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,” said Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, who supervised the FIFA investigation from its earliest stages when she was the United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York, according to the New York Times. “They did this over and over, year after year, tournament after tournament.”
Nine of the defendants were FIFA officials. Four of the defendants were sports marketing executives involved with FIFA. And the final defendant was in the broadcasting business but served as a negotiator for FIFA to facilitate between sports marketing executives and soccer officials from FIFA. Read about each of the seized persons.
FIFA’s current president, Sepp Blatter, was not part of the mass FIFA indictment, surprisingly.
The case was made by Loretta E. Lynch. She was previously involved in the FIFA corruption investigation when she served as the United States attorney in Brooklyn, New York.
“The indictment alleges corruption that is rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted both abroad and here in the United States,” said Lynch to Forbes regarding the corruption by FIFA. “It spans at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks. And it has profoundly harmed a multitude of victims, from the youth leagues and developing countries that should benefit from the revenue generated by the commercial rights these organizations hold, to the fans at home and throughout the world whose support for the game makes those rights valuable. Today’s action makes clear that this Department of Justice intends to end any such corrupt practices, to root out misconduct, and to bring wrongdoers to justice – and we look forward to continuing to work with other countries in this effort.”
While the upcoming Russian and Qatar FIFA World Cups in 2018 and 2022 were not mentioned in the American charges, the office of the Attorney General of Switzerland has opened a criminal investigation into how these locations were selected for the FIFA World Cups.
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