Six FIFA Officials Including Vice-president Arrested in ZurichPublished May 27, 2015 by Amir G
Swiss authorities arrest top FIFA officials in Zurich on corruption charges, including Vice President Jeffrey Webb.
Six senior FIFA officials have been arrested by Swiss authorities this morning in Zurich, among them the body's Vice President, Jeffrey Webb. FIFA spokesman Walter de Gregorio told AP that President Sepp Blatter was not arrested and is uninvolved.
In the early hours of the morning, Swiss law enforcement officials in plain-clothes arrived at the five star Baur au Lac Hotel in Zurich, where the FIFA officials were lodging ahead of the organization's congress in Zurich. The men were arrested after a request by US authorities which are said to be preparing a criminal indictment against members of FIFA; in total up to 14-15 officials are believed to be involved in the investigation which is led by the FBI. The arrested officials are now facing extradition to the US.
The charges tell tales of widespread corruption in the organization, with mentions of shady deals, racketeering, money, wire fraud, bribery and match fixing. The corruption is said to go back to the early 90s, with bribes amounting to around $100 million.
FIFA's Negative Image
Suffice to say, today's arrests come as no big surprise. In the eyes of the public, FIFA has been considered a corrupt organization for long. The organization's executive committee which holds immense power is usually secretive about its business. One of the latest events was FIFA's controversial decision to let Qatar host the 2022 World Cup, a decision that smelled very non-kosher with allegations of bribery.
Big Games Coming Up
It's still early to estimate how the arrests will weigh on FIFA and the world of football, but things will surely not be the same. The events unfold in peak times for the big tournaments, with the Europa League final between Dnipro and Sevilla taking place tonight and the Champions League final pitting Juventus and Barcelona slated for Saturday after next.
These games attract millions of viewers as well as punters who engage in online sports betting. It will be interesting to see what happens with the charges, and how it will affect the big games and the Euro 2016 qualifiers.