Cleat Geeks

FIFA Officials arrested on 47-count indictment

FIFA has been plunged into crisis after seven serving officials were arrested in Switzerland on corruption charges on Wednesday morning.

The US Department of Justice issued a 47-count indictment charging a total of 14 defendants.

The officials were arrested during dawn raids in Zurich with the charges relating to money laundering, racketeering, wire fraud and bribery totalling $150 million.

Jeffrey Webb, the current CONCACAF president, is one of the officials arrested. webb

Eduardo Li, Eugenio Figueredo, Julio Rocha, Rafael Esquivel, Costas Takkas and Juan Maria Marin have also been arrested.

The officials now face extradition to the United States, although Swiss officials announced six of the seven are challenging their extradition.

Jack Warner – the former CONCACAF president and Nicolas Leoz have also been arrested. All nine of the men have been, or currently are representatives of CONCACAF or CONMEBOL federations.

Warner, 72, says he is innocent of all the charges brought against him.

Four more individuals have pleaded guilty to charges. Warner’s two sons, Daryll and Daryan; Jose Hawilla – an executive of a Brazilian marketing firm and Charles Blazer, who is the CONCACAF general secretary.

FBI director James B Comey said: “As charged in the indictment, the defendants fostered a culture of corruption and greed that created an uneven playing field for the biggest sport in the world.

“Undisclosed and illegal payments, kickbacks and bribes became a way of doing business at FIFA.

“When leaders in an organisation resort to cheating the very members that they were supposed to represent, they must be held accountable.

“Whether you call it soccer or football, the fans, players and sponsors around the world who love this game should not have to worry about officials corrupting their sport.

“This case isn’t about soccer, it is about fairness and following the law.”

Criminal proceedings have also been opened over the awarding of the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

Swiss police are said to want to question as many as 10 FIFA executives who were involved in the voting process for the next two World Cups five years ago.

Former US Prosecutor, Michael Garcia was hired by FIFA to investigate allegations of bribery into the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in 2012. 2018

FIFA refused to publish Garcia’s report, instead they released a summary saying there were no major irregularities. Garcia called the summary ‘erroneous’.

Despite Wednesday’s arrests, FIFA announced that Friday’s presidential election will still go ahead as planned.

Incumbent Sepp Blatter is expected to win a fifth-term in Friday’s vote against challenger Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan.

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