What the Foul?
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK — Fourteen officials connected to FIFA are facing charges over a multi-million dollar bribery scheme, after raids in Zurich, Switzerland and Miami led to their arrests on Wednesday.
Nine FIFA soccer officials and five sports marketing executives stand accused of soliciting and giving out bribe money. Marketing companies allegedly paid FIFA officials six-figure bribes in exchange for favors and exclusive rights, then charged broadcasting companies for the rights to run soccer tournaments on their channels.
A 30-year commercial contract for the Copa America tournament were obtained through bribery, according to the indictment.
The corruption also allegedly extended to the 2011 FIFA presidential election and the selection of South Africa as the host country of the 2010 World Cup.
"The indictment alleges corruption that is rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted both abroad and here in the United States," Attorney General Loretta Lynch said during a Wednesday press conference. "It spans at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks."
The high profile officials — including FIFA Vice President Jeffrey Webb —are facing a 47-count indictment for schemes that allegedly started in 1991.
Law enforcement officials did not arrest FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who is running for a fifth term as president in an election set to go ahead on Friday.