Corruption arrests rock FIFA in advance of Presidential election
FIFA has been rocked by the arrest of nine of its executives on suspicion of corruption following a raid by Swiss authorities at a luxury hotel on Lake Zurich. The arrests occurred as world football’s governing body was gathering ahead of its presidential election on Friday, where incumbent President Sepp Blatter is expected to be elected for a fifth term.
The FIFA executives were arrested on United States federal charges, which if proven could carry jail terms, following an extradition request from US prosecutors. A number of other sports executives with links to FIFA were also arrested by US authorities.
In addition, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) of Switzerland opened separate criminal proceedings in relation to the allocation of the FIFA 2018 and 2022 World Cups, as a decisive week in the future of football’s global governing body took a stunning twist.
The arrests — on federal charges, which if proven could carry jail terms — have provoked calls for immediate action from FIFA, from Blatter's resignation and a re-run of the bid votes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, to a shutting down of the whole organisation and reinventing the whole structure of global football management.
However, Despite a run of bad news for FIFA in recent months, including the resignation of independent ethics investigator Michael J Garcia after FIFA refused to publish his full report into allegations of corruption in world football, Blatter remains the overwhelming favourite to retain his Presidency.
However, pressure from sponsors, and the potential withdrawl of major brands that back global football, may yet lead to change within FIFA.
In Australia, the corruption arrests have renewed interest in circumstances surrounding Football Federation Australia’s failed bid to secure the 2022 World Cup, which cost $45 million.
Particular attention is focusing on $500,000 paid by the Football Federation Australia (FFA) to former FIFA Vice-President Jack Warner, ostensibly made to redevelop a stadium in Warner’s native Trinidad and Tobago.
Warner, one of the executives charged with on corruption and racketeering charges by US authorities, apparently asked for the $500,000 to be paid to him personally, with no work having subsequently been carried out on the stadium for which it was allocated.
Failure to report this alleged theft has dogged the FFA for years and has been thrust back into the spotlight by the dramatic charging of Warner by US authorities.
While the $500,000 Australian payment isn't listed in the indictment that led to the arrests, it has apparently been subject to an assessment by US authorities.
The matter has now been referred to the Australian Federal Police by independent Federal senator Nick Xenophon.
31st January 2015 - SEPP BLATTER SAYS AUSTRALIA DESERVES TO HOST FIFA WORLD CUP
15th August 2014 - JAPAN READY TO HOST 2022 FIFA WORLD CUP IF EVENT STRIPPED FROM QATAR
2nd June 2014 - QATAR DENIES 2022 FIFA WORLD CUP CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS
3rd November 2011 - EMIRATES EXECUTIVE QUESTIONS FIFA SPONSORSHIP
9th September 2011 - COMPANIES THAT SPONSOR OUTPERFORM THOSE THAT DON’T
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