“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. The key here is that they are only going after our region not all of FIFA.

  1. The Feds investigate soccer and they don’t investigate Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation and its contributors and employees and contractors and beneficiaries.

    It’s just a coincidence that Boeing contributes $900K to the Clinton Foundation after Boeing secures a huge Russian contract when Hillary is Secretary of State.

    America is the “Warren Commission.”

    America is created by playwrights and screenwriters.

    America. The scam capitol of the world.

  2. I would like to know exactly how FIFA did it. Like Bernie Madoff , Tyco and AIG among others.

    Bernie Madoff. How they did it: Investors were paid returns out of their own money or that of other investors rather than profits.

    Tyco. How they did it: Siphoned money through unapproved loans and fraudulent stock sales. Money was smuggled out of the company disguised as executive bonuses or benefits.

    AIG. How they did it: Allegedly booked loans as revenue, steered clients to insurers with whom AIG had payoff agreements, and told traders to inflate stock prices.

  3. Went to the Monument several years back. That’s what I love to do, get off the beaten path and find interesting historical spots. I’ve stayed in Casa Grande previously, but have meant to stop @ Francisco Grande for awhile. Got the room for $55! The place was no more than 20% occupied. I talked w/ the waiter, he said it’s feast or famine there. When there is a soccer camp going, they are booked. But, if it’s a week day and no camp, it’s dead. Just hit it right.

  4. It is an interesting discussion point about if this is where the DOJ should be spending their resources. A legit point to discuss. I think it is warranted, based on the blatant corruption of this world sport now infecting our country, which hardly knew what soccer was when I was growing up. In the 60’s when I played football, the kids who played soccer were the ones who couldn’t play football. That’s not the case any longer. Soccer is now a popular sport in many circles in this country.

    We had an interesting stop in Casa Grande, outside Phoenix recently. There is a hotel called The Francisco Grande. It was built back in the 1950’s as a Spring Training facility for the SF Giants. A golf course was also built and it catered to Hollywood stars. John Wayne was a frequent guest. The fields that were once baseball fields are now soccer fields. There is an international soccer camp that operates there now. We met a nice family from Rio de Janeiro @ breakfast. They were dropping off their 16 year old for 2 months. Momma was sad. There was training and then tryouts for an international team. But, walls of the restaurant are filled w/ photos of SF Giants players, Hollywood stars, from the golden era back in the 50’s/60’s. It was melancholy. This is an old hotel but kept up well. The rates are cheap since it is off the beaten path. The golf course looked pretty good. The food was very good. I had just finished reading the biography of Juan Marichal. Seeing photos of the Dominican Dandy on the walls was quite a treat.

    1. Nick – since they put in the freeway to Tucson, places like Casa Grande are now off the beaten path. Some of us still like to take the old highway to Tucson, better sight-seeing. BTW, I hope you stopped at the Casa Grande Monument while you were there.

  5. Paul, The Clinton Slush Fund, err Foundation, received $150k from FIFA.

    1. Nick – evidently FIFA has not had time to contribute to the Obama Library in Chicago.

  6. Among the lines of what Nick said…how can endeavors that rake in multiple millions, even billions, of dollars not be corrupt in the end? Values do seem to take a back seat when monster amounts of money are in play. And I have no solution ideas. Markets being what they are there is what incentive to stop the corruption?

    1. Aridog – if the FBI can go after FIFA, can they go after the U.N.?

  7. “My point of course is that this investigation was an inappropriate expenditure of our government’s time and money.”

    “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. ”

    This ought to raise questions regarding the apparent extension of US law, seemingly, to every square foot of the globe (except, of course, Wall street).

    The basis of the charges is not clear to me at this time. But it will be interesting to see how US law applies to an international organization operating primarily in other countries.

  8. Tyger, Wherever there is money there is corruption. The money poured into the inner city has gone into the pockets of corrupt politicians and bureaucrats. I got one of my most important life lessons while in college. Hurricane Agnes COMPLETLEY destroyed the Wyoming Valley in PA in 1972. The largest city is Wilkes-Barre. My college was under water. The hurricane hit in June. I went to help the family of a girlfriend who lived there. I worked on govt. paid work crews, going from house to house, and helped my girlfriends family in the evening. There were no banks, hell there was no electricity for over a week. So, everything was cash! You got paid in cash. I saw people signing up for multiple work crews and collecting extra cash. I saw people getting several double wide trailers w/ different family members signing up for them. They would haul the extra trailers out of the area and sell them. I could go on. You see, 1972 was an election year and Nixon wanted Pa. The local Congressman was an infamous crook ironically named, Dan Flood. He would eventually be convicted of corruption. No, money has been thrown @ poverty since the War on Poverty was declared by LBJ. It has only gotten worse. The answer is not money, it is a change in values. Money is part of the problem, not the solution.

  9. Annie, that’s a very good point. Applies to sports especially, but could be said about a lot of activities that money is poured into when it could be better used for human well-being on earth. Humanity seems to function primarily on corruption without ultimate moral values toward itself. It’s the greed of the individual.

  10. look into what I said….would it kill you to look into the dod’s legal fremework? It is not like we can afford high fluten lawyers. Do it for what your grand dad fought for on goat hill.

  11. Wait until Isaac reads this. He an I have discussed the blatant corruption of this agency. It is about time. The Olympic Committee should be on deck for arrests.

  12. they swore holmes to lop military brides heads off….good question where we lie. Apparently it is more important for the fbi to cover fifa than military fams….bases after all can go into threatcon….meanwhile the rest of us live off base…..and if turely ever looks into to q code he will see we can’t arm …..axholes……

  13. My point of course is that this investigation was an inappropriate expenditure of our government’s time and money. I am very well aware, painfully so, of why bankers not only don’t get get prosecuted but also rake in billions of taxpayer $$$$ while they lecture the rest of us about how unfair our criticism of them is and how the rest of us need to take personal responsibility for our lives!

  14. Justice H, The FBI did not and does not go after individual criminal bankers because our politicians in both the executive and the legislative branch have been paid handsomely by said bankers to keep them free. It is my opinion that through Attorney General Holder they FBI has been told hands off the bankers.

  15. So this was 1 of AG’s Loretta Lynch’s pet projects?

    Ms. Lynch served as the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, having been appointed to that office by President Obama in 2010.

  16. That kind of money, squandered on sports and sporting events, while people go hungry in the world. That’s a crime in itself. Obscene, even if it weren’t corrupt.

    1. Inga – lighten up. Think of the money squandered on the Clintons. Think how many mouths could be feed.

  17. Will the FBI now go after the bankers? Why on earth was the FBI the lead on this investigation? FIFA is obviously corrupt but I don’t see that it should be an American law enforcement priority.

    The fact that the leader of the pact is still on the lose makes it obvious that he is pretty powerful and is likly being protected. Interesting..

    Now it’s time to go after Wall Street . By they way how much did this investigation cost..flights to Zurich and all? Just asking.

    1. Justice Holmes – the Obama girls are playing soccer and may want to turn pro. Hence the FBI investigation.

  18. I think at a certain point in life you have choice to either represent your country on FIFA or the UN. The have about the same amount of corruption.

  19. Friggin Idiots From Albania has been around for a long time. This is the first time I have seen it mentioned on the blog.

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