FIFA And The ‘World Cup of Fraud’ – What We Know So Far; Presidential Election To Go Ahead

May 27, 2015

by Christian Radnedge

The US Department of Justice says it was issuing FIFA a “red card” as it was revealed that it has issued corruption charge indictments against 14 people including senior level officials at world football’s governing body.

Ahead of the FIFA congress in Zurich this week, vice-president Jeffrey Webb, head of CONCACAF, and former South American football president Eugenio Figueredo from Uruguay were named among those arrested by Swiss police in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter is understood not to be wanted for questioning at this stage.

The full statement from the US Department of Justice on the charges can be read here.

Below are the key developments from a tumultuous day in world football:

–          Charges come after a three-year FBI investigation into allegations concerning the misuse of at least $100m.

–          FIFA maintain that the revelations are “good” for the governing body.

–          FIFA spokesperson confirms that congress and Friday’s presidential election will still go ahead.

–          Former FIFA exco member Chuck Blazer amassed $11 million in unreported income, according to Richard Weber, director of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division.

–          Former CONCACAF president Jack Warner also sought by US authorities, although he released a statement protesting his innocence since leaving FIFA in 2011.

–          Swiss police plan to question Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko about the awarding of the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 World Cup to Qatar in a separate investigation.

–          Next step in process will be extradition to the US, confirmed Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

FIFA sponsor Adidas released a brief statement saying: “Following today’s news, we can only encourage FIFA to continue to establish & follow transparent compliance standards”.

Other sponsors have yet to comment, but one man who had his say was Prince Ali bin-Al Hussein – the man challenging Blatter for the presidency on Friday.

In a strongly worded statement, he said: “We cannot continue with the crisis in FIFA, a crisis that has been ongoing and is not just relevant to the events of today.  FIFA needs leadership that governs, guides and protects our national associations.

“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 a press conference in New York, the US department of Justice also confirmed that the CONCACAF headquarters in Miami was being searched by the FBI as part of the investigation.

Lynch also said that bribery and corruption had seemed to have been going on in soccer for two decades, and that this would be the “beginning” of their effort into rooting out corruption and “not the end”.

“It was a World Cup of Fraud. Today we are showing them the red card,” said Richard Weber, chief of the US tax agency’s criminal investigation division.

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