“For the Game, For the World”: Swiss Police Raid FIFA Meeting And Arrest Senior Officials in Corruption Investigation

Flag_of_FIFA.svgSepp_Blatter_Nov_2013_ZurichFor those of us who have been vocal critics of the flagrant and open corruption of FIFA, there is finally some good news. Swiss authorities swooped into a hotel Wednesday and arrested some of the top soccer officers on corruption charges in the United States. The police notably went to one of the most expensive hotels in the world where these officials were treating themselves to another gold-plated over-the-top meeting with views of the Alps and Lake Zurich. They were led from the five-star hotel in an early morning raid, but many will be disappointed that one official remained in his luxury hotel room untouched: Sepp Blatter (right), FIFA’s longtime president who has ruled over one of the most corrupt organizations in sports for years. While the slogan of FIFA is “For the Game. For the World,” it has been run for the benefit of its leadership for decades. This prosecution, not FIFA, can be properly embraced as “For the Game. For the World.” Blatter became president of FIFA in 1998 after rising through the ranks of this infamous organization. His chief ethics investigation, Michael J. Garcia, resigned in frustration and declared that the organization was so thoroughly corrupt that it was incapable of reforming itself. That is why Americans can take such pride in the work of the FBI in this case. This include new allegations of dirty dealing over the plans for the 2018 (in Russia) and 2022 (in Qatar) world cups. However, just Friday, Blatter announced that those votes would not be reopened. He and his band of sports felons then went off to Zurich to enjoy their customary five-star accommodations . . . until the police showed up. The first to be led out of the hotel was Eduardo Li of Costa Rica. Other senior officials include Jeffrey Webb, Eugenio Figueredo, Jack Warner, Eduardo Li, Julio Rocha, Costas Takkas, Rafael Esquivel, José Maria Marin and Nicolás Leoz. The indictment names 14 people on charges including racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy. The New York Times also reports that the defendants will include sports-marketing executives from the United States and South America who are accused of paying more than $150 million in bribes and kickbacks in exchange for media deals associated with major soccer tournaments. The large number of defendants raises the chances of a cooperation agreement and the possibility that Blatter might still be charged. What is clear is that the United States appears ready to do what no country has succeeded in doing: cleaning up FIFA. It is a prosecution that will be cheered by millions who have watched this arrogant and seemingly untouchable organization for years. While I admit that I am an American football fan who has struggled to watch soccer, this sport is suddenly getting much much more interesting. Perhaps we might even see some of the practices at the NFL reviewed as they fleece cities for Superbowl rights to benefit top officials. Nevertheless, FIFA makes the NFL look like amateurs and pikers when it comes to corruption. Part of the reason is that so many officials come from countries with lax corruption laws or enforcement. The Olympic Committee has been previously subject to such investigations for obscene corruption and continues to draw the ire of reformers. The international work of FIFA, including meetings and activities in the United States, allows the U.S. to enforce our own laws over the dealings of FIFA. The result could be what this organization has long need — in addition to the obvious need for Blatter to resign. What is fascinating is that Blatter has been a disaster on almost every level from mismanaging accounts to remarkably moronic public comments to even disrespecting the memory of Nelson Mandela. Yet, FIFA has always operated like it is composed of “made men” who are accountable to no one but themselves. That assumption however appears to be proven incorrect as over a dozen senior officials face extradition orders to the United States.

37 thoughts on ““For the Game, For the World”: Swiss Police Raid FIFA Meeting And Arrest Senior Officials in Corruption Investigation”

  1. Everything IS about money, these days and yes, where there is money there is corruption.

    But remember humans invented money!

    You can reduce that equation to “Where there are Humans, there is Corruption”.

    All that aside, I believe one major reason the FBI is on this is because of the money-Laundering.

    The US is hurting for money these days. Why not declare economic warfare on such a disreputable (and obscenely rich) organization?

    Since the US is all about “quelling terrorism” these days, it stands to reason
    they’d be looking to interdict money flow to ‘terrorist organizations’.

    And re-direct said money to their OWN pockets, of course only to fund the good work of “bringing freedom to the world”.

  2. What a load of gerbil excrement ……. No reason to have a raid … except the police love that sort of thing….. no mechanism exists for the FIFA corruption except corrupt government …. but I repeat myself. This is a lot of high level horseplay ( sounds like whores-play ) between the privileged pirates of the world. Just a theatrical sham to fool the peons …. who are by the way … easily fooled. All of this is incredibly banal and disgusting … the POTUS … the SCOTUS … the BAFTA … the Congress …. So JT … I have watched you for years ….. try to do the right thing … and then the devil started whispering in your ear … how wonderfully you were doing … and how you deserved honors and accolades for your good work … and it started to make sense … and these important people were clapping you on the shoulder….. and it was wonderful …………….. I know … I know …. it is hard to be a sophont and hard to watch the unintended consequences of one’s noblest efforts make things very murky. I have no answer. None at all.

  3. Paul – These countries take notes. The cheat sheets, from Lance Armstrong Tour de France doping scandal, Yankees, Alex Rodriguez performance enhancing drugs,
    to backdoor sports money deals. As long as spectators buy tickets, it will be business as usual. That includes hotdog and beer.

  4. Putin wants US to keep dirty nose out of Russia soccer deal. KGB makes goal.
    Score is Putin 1, Obama 0. Place your bets.

    1. Larry – maybe we are about to find out how Brazil came up with the cash to bribe their way to a World Cup and then an Olympics.

  5. Since DOJ and all other corrupt, crony, and compromised government agencies have ignored bankster crimes for the past two decades, they needed to spend their time on something! Two-bit FIFA crooks didn’t steal taxpayer money, commit financial crimes against the American people and then get bailed-out by the taxpayer in order to give themselves huge bonuses. It’s a joke that is pushed upon a compliant, clueless and complacent public each and every day……

  6. Paul

    I hope it plays like dominoes and makes for years of juicy reading. I love it when a scandal comes together. GP/HS

  7. What was most interesting was the FIFA official stating that they welcomed this. He didn’t sound too enthusiastic so it may be one of the greatest acts of backtracking to the press in history. The hypocrisy was almost as thick as in the GOP when Iraq and ISIS comes up.

    It would have been better if France, GB, or one of the other European ‘old boy soccer’ countries had done this but it is great to see Switzerland cooperating. The costs of prosecuting, hopefully will be covered by tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars in fines. Perhaps the fines can go to fund youth soccer in the poorer nations. Hopefully all these bums will get the boot and if soccer is lucky some jail time. This is an opportune moment to make some significantly intelligent statements. Since the US has initiated this they should take it to the mat.

    Soccer has unfortunately gotten far too politicized and corrupt. There was a time when hosting the World Cup meant something, Brazil, South Africa, Germany, etc. But, Qatar, WTF! The only possible reason Qatar got picked is bribes. Corruption is rampant in the political sector and in most large organizations, however, when FIFA picked Qatar the deal not only stunk to high heaven, the FIFA stooges didn’t even care about the smell. How on earth do they keep a straight face? How do they keep from giggling?

    Qatar should get the boot and FIFA should get sued for a few hundred million. Iceland merits the World Cup more than Qatar.

    1. issac – the FIFA officials being arrested are only the ones from our hemisphere. That is why the Swiss are cooperating.

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