The Washington Post reports:
The Justice Department unsealed a 47 count indictment early Wednesday charging 14 world soccer figures, including officials of FIFA, with racketeering, bribery, money laundering and fraud. Four of those accused, including two sports marketing companies, have already pleaded guilty and are likely to be cooperating.
Among the “alleged schemes,” said the Justice Department, were kickbacks to FIFA officials by executives and companies involved in soccer marketing and “bribes and kickbacks in connection” with “the selection of the host country for the 2010 World Cup and the 2011 FIFA presidential election,” the Justice Department said.
Perhaps the only thing less surprising is this:
Swiss prosecutors, in a related announcement, said they had opened criminal proceedings against unidentified individuals on suspicion of mismanagement and money laundering related to the awarding of rights to host the 2018 World Cup in Russia and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The separate Swiss probe includes “electronic data and documents” seized at FIFA’s headquarters in Zurich, the Swiss prosecutor’s office said. Swiss police said they will question at least 10 FIFA executive committee members who took part in the World Cup votes in December 2010 that named Russia and Qatar as host nations for the next two tournaments.
But FIFA said those awards to Qatar and Russia would not be reconsidered.
Suspicions over the next two World Cups are sure to intensify now that top FIFA officials have been indicted for corruption.
The selection of Russia and Qatar for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, respectively, were already controversial enough without being connected to corruption allegations. Critics have questioned the decision to award Russia the World Cup when the country is currently occupying Crimea, for example.
Qatar, meanwhile, has come under criticism for its treatment of migrant workers. More than 1,000 workers have died building soccer stadiums. Earlier this month, critics demanded World Cup sponsors pull out of Qatar over work conditions. And on Saturday, the Nepalese government said its citizens had not been allowed to leave Qatar to attend funerals for family members killed in the recent earthquake.
If anti-Israel BDS types want to do something useful, they will switch their activities to companies sponsoring the World Cup until FIFA cleans up its act and starts taking human rights and workers’ rights seriously.
RT BREAKING: Swiss Police confirm that, when arrested, all seven FIFA officials threw themselves on the ground and pretended to be injured.
— Jeffrey Toobin (@JeffreyToobin) May 27, 2015
And Adam Holland records some other notable reactions:
And this. https://t.co/ONd1oeJ6aQ
— Adam Holland (@ad_holland) May 27, 2015
#BREAKING Russia slams 'illegal' use of US law in FIFA probe
— Agence France-Presse (@AFP) May 27, 2015