FIFA corruption scandal continues: US files charges against 16 more officials
The FIFA Corruption scandal has taken a big turn recently, with US charging 16 officials with various charges of corruption. The scandal which was supposed to be localised to the FIFA body is now becoming a geopolitical disaster for FIFA and its President Sepp Blatter.
Here is more information on the ongoing fresh arrests as US Department of Justice issued more arrest warrants against officials regarding the FIFA Corruption Scandal.
1 What is FIFA?
The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) is the premier organization that governs the sport of football all over the world. The organization was founded in 1904 and was to oversee the football competitions between the nations of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and Sweden.
It is responsible for organization of all the tournaments involving international teams, promote that organization and raise funds for smooth operation of the sport of football all over the world. In 2013, FIFA reported revenues of over $1.3 bn with net profit of $72 mn.
2 What is the scandal?
But recently, the FIFA officials and especially, FIFA chief Sepp Blatter was accused by investigative journalists of corruption, bribery and vote rigging in order to grant the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively.
In May of 2015, the Swiss authorities arrested several high ranking officials. Even the FIFA chief Sepp Blatter was charged with taking bribes and other kickbacks in order to award the World Cups to Qatar, which does not have the atmosphere conducive to playing football in daytime with temperatures reaching more than 50 degrees Celsius. Plus, with Qatar being accused of abusing human rights in building the stadiums, continuous support of Blatter is seen in a very bad light.
3 The new indictment
Recently, the US court and Department of Justice unsealed more than 96- count indictment against 16 officials which includes big names such as current Presidents of organizations like CONCACAF and CONMEBOL.
The charges are built majorly around the schemes by several top ranked officials to receive kickbacks from sports marketing companies which amounted to more than $200mn. The officials who are charged are mostly responsible to oversee football in all of South America and Central America. The Swiss authorities arrested two members of executive committee Alfredo Hawit and Juan Ángel Napout, in Zurich recently.
Hawit is the current president of CONCACAF, the confederation that regulates the football activities in North and Central America and the Caribbean. Napout is the president of CONMEBOL, the South American soccer confederation.
4 Charges and names of the people charged
Along with Hawit and Napout, the following officials were charged:
- Ariel Alvarado – FIFA disciplinary committee member and former Panamanian Football Chief
- Rafael Callejas – Former President of Honduras – and its football association
- Brayan Jimenez – Guatemala FA chief and member of the FIFA committee for fair play and social responsibility
- Rafael Salguero – Former FIFA executive committee member and Guatemala Football Chief
- Hector Trujillo – General Secretary of Guatemala FA
- Reynaldo Vasquez – former El Salvador FA President
- Manuel Burga – FIFA development committee member and former Peru FA president
- Carlos Chavez – Conmebol treasurer
- Luis Chiriboga – Ecuador Football President
- Marco Polo del Nero – Brazil Football President
- Eduardo Deluca – former Conmebol General Secretary
- Jose Luis Meiszner – Conmebol General Secretary
- Romer Osuna – Bolivian FIFA audit and Compliance Committee member
- Ricardo Teixeira – former Brazil FA Chief
FIFA said that it would co-operate in the investigations. Some defendants are charged with taking bribes from the sports marketing and broadcasting companies for allocation of rights to major football matches and tournaments. While some are being charged with obstruction of justice, by hiding their criminal activities once they came to know they were being investigated.
“This case has been nothing short of one of the most complex, worldwide financial investigations ever conducted,” said Richard Weber, the chief of the criminal investigation unit of the Internal Revenue Service, who added that the investigation had traced funds through at least 40 countries.
In conclusion, this FIFA Corruption scandal is going to have very far reaching effects and will involve many other high ranking officials including the president of FIFA Sepp Blatter who was also charged with accusations of bribery and corruption.