FIFA Corruption Scandal: 14 Officials Involved With Soccer’s Top Governing Body Indicted
FIFA’s alleged corruption was the target of a 47-count indictment that was announced in a federal court in Brooklyn, N.Y., Wednesday.
FIFA Corruption Scandal
The U.S. Department of Justice’s indictment charges 14 officials involved with FIFA with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy, reported CNN.
“The defendants fostered a culture of corruption and greed that created an uneven playing field for the biggest sport in the world,” FBI Director James Comey said in a news release. “Undisclosed and illegal payments, kickbacks and bribes became a way of doing business at FIFA.”
The FBI has been investigating FIFA over the course of the last three years. Their investigation has yielded findings that suggest that members of FIFA accepted bribes and kickbacks totaling more than $150 million.
After the indictment was announced, six FIFA officials were arrested in Zurich, including FIFA vice president and head of CONCACAF Jeffrey Webb. As of yet, FIFA President Sepp Blatter has not been arrested, and is not facing charges at this time, although the investigation into the governing body is ongoing.
It’s expected that Blatter will still attend the women’s World Cup in Canada this summer, and it’s possible that executives will elect him to a fifth term despite the controversy. Not everyone, however, believes that Blatter should keep his post.
“FIFA needs leadership that governs, guides and protects our national associations,” said Prince Ali bin Al Hussein of Jordan. “Leadership that accepts responsibility for its actions and does not pass blame. Leadership that restores confidence in the hundreds of millions of football fans around the world.”
In addition to the U.S. indictment, FIFA is also under investigation by Swiss authorities that are looking into the bidding process that awarded the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. The Swiss’ criminal investigation will look into possible criminal mismanagement and money laundering.