The New York Times is reporting that top officials of FIFA have been arrested in Zurich on charges of corruption and face extradition to the United States. The US Department of Justice indictment names 14 people on charges including racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy. Among those named are Jeffrey Web, president of CONCACAF, Jack Warner, former president of CONCACAF, Eugenio Figueredo, former VP of CONMEBOL and Jose Maria Marin, president of the Brazilian FA.
“The indictment alleges corruption that is rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted both abroad and here in the United States,” said United States Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch.
United States officials also revealed that four people, including the former FIFA executive Chuck Blazer, and two sports marketing companies had entered guilty pleas. Blazer forfeited $1.9 million when he entered his guilty plea in 2013, and agreed to make a second payment at sentencing
Sepp Blatter was not named in the indictments. FIFA is scheduled to complete an election this Friday to determine its leader for the next four years.
The stink from the 2006 Serie A match fixing scandal still lingers in the air of Italian football. The New York Times reports that new evidence produced in a case against Juventus’ former GM Luciano Moggi could implicate Inter in the scandal and fuel calls for Inter to be stripped of the title retroactively. However, it is unlikely that any charges lodged against the club would affect this season’s point tally.
While the Italian scandal may be old news, corruption is not and is unlikely to diminish given the large amount of money flowing into the game. It was only this year that Chelsea were served a ban for improper player transfer practices, suspicious dealings at Portsmouth came to light, and UEFA announced that they were investigating match fixing in Eastern Europe. As the sport expands to more regions the biggest job to come is ensuring that its quality is maintained.