FIFA Officials Indicted for Corruption, Racketeering in Soccer Shakeup

Published: May 27, 2015 11:59am EDT
By Rick Rinker, Political Editor for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated May 27, 2015 @ 12:46pm EDT

 

This morning the FBI announced indictments against nine top FIFA officials, including two vice-presidents, for corruption schemes involving racketeering, wire fraud, money laundering, and other crimes related to the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

The early morning arrests took place at a Zurich, Switzerland hotel where FIFA officials had been staying for the FIFA presidential election. Swiss authorities, acting on a request from the FBI, also raided the FIFA headquarters in Zurich where documents and hard drive data were also seized.

“The indictment alleges corruption that is rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted both abroad and here in the United States,” said Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch. “It spans at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust.”

In total it is believed that more than $150 million in bribes had been secured for media and marketing rights related to the World Cup and other such similar international tournaments. FIFA is the organization that regulates soccer worldwide, and has increasingly been criticized for alleged corruption, particularly in the wake of the 2022 Qatar world cup announcement.

The indictments claim that the FIFA officials’ criminal conduct dates as far back as 1991, where bribes were accepted from marketing executives to systematically exclude competitors from media and marketing rights to FIFA regulated events and promotions.

“The defendants fostered a culture of corruption and greed that created an uneven playing field for the biggest sport in the world,” noted FBI Director James B. Comey. “Undisclosed and illegal payments, kickbacks, and bribes became a way of doing business at FIFA,” he said.


 

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