Soccer & FIFA Corruption

FIFA Corruption: Why did it take so long to uncover the truth?

FIFA president Sepp Blatter should resign from his role immediately, according to the European Parliament.
 
The Swiss announced his intention to step down in the wake of the corruption scandal that has engulfed world football's governing body.

The 79-year-old will remain in his post until a successor is chosen at an Extraordinary Congress that will be held between December this year and March 2016.

However, the European Parliament has called for him to leave with immediate effect.

"The European Parliament demands, among other things, the immediate resignation of FIFA president Joseph Blatter," a recently released statement read.
 
"Parliament welcomes Joseph Blatter's resignation as FIFA president and calls on the federation to select an interim leader to replace him.

Former FIFA VP Jack Warner
"FIFA should put in place a transparent, balanced and democratic decision-making process, including for the election of the new president,” adds the resolution, which was passed by a show of hands.

The statement also declared that the decisions to award Russia and Qatar the next two World Cups should be considered "invalid" if allegations of corruption regarding those processes are proven.

FIFA Corruption Probe

Several top-ranking FIFA officials were arrested as part of an FBI-led investigation into allegations of bribery and money-laundering dating back to 1991.
 
U.S. Justice Department, FBI and IRS officials conducted a press conference outlining U.S. charges against those individuals implicated in the latest FIFA scandal.
 
The unfolding scandal which has engulfed FIFA has been described as a "World Cup of fraud" by the chief of the IRS criminal investigation, Richard Weber.

The IRS chief vowed to "issue FIFA a red card" following the indictment of 14 individuals by the U.S. Justice Department for corruption.

Referee shows FIFA a red card
Weber was speaking alongside new US Attorney General Loretta Lynch in New York where the indictments against FIFA officials past and present, as well as five businessmen accused of wire fraud, money laundering and racketeering, were unsealed.
 
Current FIFA vice president and CONCACAF president, Jeffrey Webb, fellow FIFA vice president Eugenio Figueredo, FIFA executive committee member-elect Eduardo Li and former Brazil FA chief Jose Maria Marin were among those named by U.S. prosecutors as suspects in the scandal.

"Many of the individuals and organisations were entrusted with keeping soccer open and accessible to all," Lynch said.
 
"They held important responsibilities at every level, from building soccer fields for children in developing countries to organising the World Cup.
 
"They were expected to uphold the rules that keep soccer honest and protect the integrity of the game.
 
"Instead, they corrupted the business of worldwide soccer to serve their interests and enrich themselves. This Department of Justice is determined to end these practices; to root out corruption; and to bring wrongdoers to justice."
 
The charges brought by the U.S. relate in large to broadcast and commercial rights for major tournaments over the past two decades and which continue to the present day with the 2016 Centennial Copa America in the U.S. estimated to account for some $110 million (€100m) in bribes.
 
Acting U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of New York, Kelly Currie, added: “All of these defendants abused the U.S. financial system and violated U.S. law. And we intend to hold them accountable.”

Ball, handcuffs and one hundred Euro note
FBI director, James Comey, declared that the game of football had been "hijacked" but nonetheless “this hijacking is being met with a very aggressive prosecutorial response in order to change behaviour and send a message.”
 
Former FIFA vice-president, Jack Warner recently revealed that he has passed on evidence that implicates FIFA and Sepp Blatter in involvement in the Trinidad and Tobago elections in 2010.
 
Warner was one of 14 people indicted by the U.S. Justice Department in a move that preceded the recently held FIFA elections in Zürich - which later proved futile when re-elected Blatter revealed his decision to quit four days later.
 
Warner has said he has evidence of "a link between FIFA, its funding and me, the link between FIFA, its funding and the United National Congress and The People's Partnership Government in general election 2010", while the 72-year-old also indicated his documents directly implicate Blatter.

The ex-FIFA official then claimed he has protected FIFA from his allegations for now, but he is ready to turn on his former employer now that he is implicated in corrupt activity.
 
"I have, as promised, compiled a comprehensive and detailed series of documents, including cheques and corroborated statements, and placed them in different and respected hands," he said.

"I have, in effect, placed the outcome of those matters beyond even my own reach. Retracting them is now an impossibility. There can be no turning back."
 
Switzerland's Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has opened criminal proceedings relating to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, with 10 people set to be questioned regarding criminal mismanagement and money laundering during the bid process which saw the finals awarded to Russia and Qatar.

Electronic data and documents from FIFA IT systems have been handed over to the OAG as part of what the Swiss authority has called a "collection of evidence on co-operative basis", while relevant bank documents have already been seized regarding potential illegal activities ahead of the December 2010 votes.
 
This investigation is separate from the U.S. Attorney's Office probe into criminal activity within FIFA that led to the arrest of seven senior officials in Zürich, with the Swiss Federal Office of Justice having carried out a swoop on a hotel housing FIFA's top brass ahead of the FIFA Congress.

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Written by Mario Hajiloizis
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