Football’s governing body has been plunged into yet another corruption crisis, with Swiss authorities swooping in on a number of corrupt FIFA officials at a luxury hotel in Zurich during an early morning raid.
Among those arrested was Jeffrey Webb, the current vice president, alongside Eugenio Figueredo, Eduardo Li, Julio Rocha, Costas Takkas, Rafael Esquivel and Jose Maria Marin. Along with the arrests, two investigations into the corruption have been started in Switzerland and the United States.
The case opened by the Swiss Federal office of Justice is based on money laundered and criminal mismanagement that was said to take place between 1990 and the present day, while they are also looking into the decisions to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cup competitions to Russia and Qatar respectively.
The FBI have also announced that they will interrogate all those involved in the bribes, which are said to total up to a figure in excess of $150 million. Since Wednesday, the United States Department of Justice has already charged over 14 different people in connection with the case, while Swiss questioning is still in progress.
FBI director James B. Comey stated that, “undisclosed and illegal payment, kickbacks, and bribes became a way of doing business at FIFA.”
However, FIFA president Sepp Blatter seems to be confident that he will be cleared of any wrongdoing, as was stated by an official FIFA spokesman following the arrests. It is therefore likely that the FIFA elections, set to take place on Friday, will continue as planned.
As FIFA plunges deeper and deeper into chaos, electronic data and bank documents are being seized and analysed in order to discover the extent of the corruption within the organisation. As the investigation continues, more and more officials are likely to be questioned.
However, while some may be nervously shaking in their boots as they await the dreaded knock on their door, Blatter appears to be as relaxed as ever, even going as far as to claim that today is a good day for football’s governing body.