An investigation into allegations of corruption at #Football's main governing body, led by US authorities, found that several FIFA officials had been "corrupting the game for personal gain" and resulted in the arrest of 14 FIFA executives, including seven of the organization's top officials and two vice-presidents. In the same day, Swiss authorities announced their own investigation into FIFA's choices of Russia and Qatar for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments, conducting two parallel raids at FIFA's headquarters, in Zurich, seizing thousands of documents.
The U.S. attorney-general, Loretta Lynch, explained that "the indictment alleges rampant, systemic and deep-rooted corruption" spanning "over at least two generations of football officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of power to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks". The FIFA officials in question were charged with accepting bribes worth more than $150 million, transferred through banks in the Cayman Islands and Hong Kong, as well as racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering. Among the seven top FIFA officials arrested, on Wednesday morning, at the Baur au Lac hotel, in Zurich, are the organization's vice-presidents Jeffrey Webb, of the Cayman Islands, and Eugenio Figueredo. If convicted, the men face up to 20 years in prison.
Swiss authorities have also revealed their own separate investigation into corruption and money laundering. They intend to question ten FIFA executive committee members who participated in the decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments to Russia and Qatar.
The Swiss authorities and American prosecutors have not ruled out the possibility of future legal action against FIFA President, Joseph Blatter, who, for now, has not been directly involved in any of the two inquiries. Mr. Blatter reacted by issuing a statement to clarify that "it should be clear that we welcome the actions and investigations by the US and Swiss authorities and believe that it will help to reinforce measures already taken by FIFA to root out any wrongdoing in football".
The European football governing body, UEFA, has also asked for the postponement of FIFA's election, scheduled for tomorrow, where Mr. Blatter is expected to be reappointed as the president of football's most powerful empire, for a fifth consecutive term. #Police