Originally published on May 29, 2015, at NationofChange.org
Fourteen people, including nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives, were indicted this week on corruption charges involving the World Cup and multiple bribery scandals spanning over two decades. On Wednesday, Swiss law enforcement officers arrested seven top FIFA officials staying at a five-star hotel in Zurich. Although the Justice Department has not filed charges against FIFA President Sepp Blatter, the FBI and IRS continue to investigate the myriad allegations leveled against him.
Top officials within the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) have been charged with soliciting and accepting bribes from countries petitioning to host the World Cup in 1998 and 2010. Through the systematic payment of bribes and kickbacks, FIFA executives allegedly forged alliances with sports marketing executives who shut out competitors and kept highly lucrative contracts for themselves. Included in the conspiracy are the current and former presidents CONCACAF, the continental confederation under FIFA headquartered in the United States.
“The indictment alleges corruption that is rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted both abroad and here in the United States,” stated Attorney General Loretta Lynch. “It spans at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust.”