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Several FIFA officials arrested on corruption charges

Following the decision to host the FIFA 2022 in Qatar, the Swiss police cracked down and arrested over a dozen top FIFA officials who were possibly involved in bribing committee members for choosing the Middle Eastern city. The arrests shook up the world, and disappointed the football fans.

Nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives have been marked by the Department of Justice,  who were a part of a “24 year scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer”. The list of accused includes: Jeffrey Webb, Ricardo Li, Julio Rocha, Costas Takkas, Jack Warner, Eugenio Figueredo, Rafael Esquivel, José Maria Marin, Nicolás Leoz, Alejandro Buzaco, Aaron Davidson, Hugo and Mariano Jinkis, and Jose Margulies.

According to the Attorney General Loretta Lynch, “They were expected to uphold the rules that keep soccer honest, and protect the integrity of the game. Instead, they corrupted the business of worldwide soccer to serve their interests and enrich themselves. Top officials treated FIFA business decisions as chits to be traded for personal wealth. One soccer official took in more than $10 million in bribes.”

The schemes involving the fraud included the selection of South Africa as the host of the 2010 World Cup; the 2011 FIFA presidential elections; and several sports-marketing deals.

“These individuals and organizations engaged in bribery to decide who would televise games, where the games would be held, and who would run the organization overseeing organized soccer worldwide,” said Ms. Lynch, who supervised the investigation from its earliest stages.

The arrests came after a three-year investigation by the FBI. These arrests against the officials are quite exposing to the FIFA organization and will hopefully shed a better light on the selection process.

Source: NY Times