U.S. President Barack Obama has broken his silence on the FIFA scandal which has seen many top officials within soccer’s highest governing body face criminal charges in the United States judicial system.
President Obama issued a stern warning that FIFA must “operate with integrity and transparency” in order to govern the globe’s most popular sport. The Global Summit normally includes Russia, however they have been excluded from the talks because of the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation. Coincidentally, President Obama finds himself on the opposite end of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin after Putin came out in support of FIFA despite the current scandal.
“I will say that in the conversations I’ve had here, in Europe, people think it is very important for FIFA to be able to operate with integrity and transparency and accountability.”
FIFA’s corruption had been a dark rumor hovering over soccer for the past decade or so, however, it was not until the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) finally disclosed cases of corruption between the top officials of FIFA that the situation burst into the sunlight.
“And so, as the investigation and charges proceed, I think we have to keep in mind that although football – or soccer, depending on which side of the Atlantic you live on – is a game, it’s also a massive business, it’s a source of incredible national pride, and people want to make sure that it operates with integrity.”
The U.S. President poked fun at his country’s growing interest and influence on soccer and maintained that he wants to see the sport’s conduct flourish for the years ahead of it.
“The United States, by the way, since we keep on getting better and better at each World Cup, we want to make sure that a sport that is gaining popularity is conducted in an upright manner.
Along with the fourteen officials arrested, the FIFA scandal has seen the resignation of President Joseph Blatter just days after a landmark victory. The scandal has also brought to light the alleged levels of corruption within the organization.
The alleged bribery of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa to the multi million agreement with FAI described as hush money to buy Ireland’s silence over a blatant handball that essentially knocked Ireland out of contention of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup. All are notable examples, however, many believe that these are just the tip of the iceberg regarding FIFA’s corruption.
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