Escândalo Corrupção FIFA - Blatter demite-se | Traffic (Estoril) envolvida

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Escândalo de corrupção derruba o presidente da FIFA Joseph Blatter

O dirigente suíço convocou nesta terça um congresso para eleger o seu sucessor


LUIS DONCEL Berlim 2 JUN 2015 - 18:08 BRT

A pressão era insuportável. Joseph Blatter deixa a presidência da FIFA quatro dias depois de ter sido reeleito com o apoio de quase dois terços dos delegados das federações nacionais. A votação de sexta-feira passada permitiu que ele continuasse por mais quatro anos à frente do futebol mundial. Mas Blatter, de 79 anos, anunciou na terça-feira que vai convocar um congresso extraordinário para eleger um novo presidente. “Apesar de os membros da FIFA me reelegerem, não parece que este mandato tem o apoio de todos”, argumentou em um comunicado.

Delegados reunidos na quinta-feira e na sexta-feira em Zurique fizeram ouvidos moucos à exigência de renovação pedida por vários setores. Na mesma semana da conferência, a polícia de Zurique havia prendido sete funcionários da entidade, inclusive dois vice-presidentes e aliados próximos do líder, por envolvimento com corrupção. O que Blatter considerou “casos isolados” eram, de acordo com a definição do Departamento de Justiça dos EUA, práticas “desenfreadas, sistemáticas e arraigadas”.

Os pedidos de demissão vieram do presidente da UEFA, Michel Platini, ao primeiro-ministro britânico David Cameron. Ainda assim, Blatter saiu vitorioso. “Antes [da votação] estava um pouco nervoso”, chegou a dizer depois de obter o apoio de 133 delegações contra 73 de seu único rival, o príncipe jordaniano Ali Bin Al Hussein.

Mas a alegria durou pouco. Blatter, presidente da FIFA desde 1998, tinha contra si governos como o dos EUA, o britânico e o francês. A chanceler alemã, Angela Merkel, não foi tão longe como seu colega britânico. Mas membros de seu Governo, inclusive o ministro da Justiça, atacaram Blatter duramente nos últimos dias. A Comissão Europeia também disse na segunda-feira que era hora de mudar a FIFA. A seu favor, Blatter tinha o presidente russo, Vladimir Putin, que por trás da investigação do escândalo vê uma conspiração para arrancar a Copa do Mundo de 2018 da Rússia.

Os inimigos de Blatter não estão apenas na política. A Federação Inglesa de Futebol pediu, na segunda-feira, o boicote da Copa do Mundo de 2018. “O Reino Unido não apresentará sua candidatura para sediar uma Copa do Mundo enquanto Blatter permanecer no cargo”, disse seu presidente, Greg Dyke. Seu colega holandês, Michael van Praag, disse que só explicava a reeleição de Blatter pelo medo que imperava na FIFA e pela falta de democracia. Blatter, no entanto, teve o apoio das poderosas federações da França e da Espanha. E aos problemas políticos e esportivos acrescenta-se a fuga de patrocínios. Às desistências da empresa petrolífera Castrol, da farmacêutica e cosmética Johnson & Johnson e da fabricante de pneus Continental vieram se juntar o mal-estar da Visa e da Coca-Cola.

A renúncia abre um período cheio de incertezas. Blatter poderia tentar dirigir o congresso extraordinário que deve eleger seu sucessor, que poderia ser convocado entre dezembro deste ano e março de 2016. Para o comitê executivo da FIFA, os homens próximos a Blatter abundam. E para renovar o futebol mundial não é suficiente apenas a saída de seu presidente, mas uma profunda reforma da instituição.
« Última modificação: Junho 03, 2015, 20:25 pm por Viridis »

ESCÂNDALO DA FIFA DESVENDA ESQUEMA DO 'DONO DO FUTEBOL BRASILEIRO'

JOSÉ HAWILLA COMANDAVA A EMPRESA TRAFFIC GROUP, INTERMEDIANDO ACORDOS DE TRANSMISSÃO PARA OS MAIORES TORNEIOS DE ESPORTES DA AMÉRICA LATINA

O poder de José Hawilla sobre o futebol brasileiro parecia insuperável. O Globo, maior jornal do Rio de Janeiro, inclusive o apelidou de "dono do futebol brasileiro". Por décadas, ele colheu lucros através da sua empresa de marketing Traffic Group, intermediando acordos de transmissão para os maiores torneios de esportes da América Latina e patrocínios entre a seleção brasileira de futebol e companhias como a Nike e a Coca-Cola. Ele também obteve fatias de ganhos de jovens jogadores que ele angariou no Brasil e foram à Europa, e possuía equipes em três continentes.

"Não é segredo que a compra e venda de direitos de mídia em torneios é o que movimenta mais dinheiro", disse Davi Bertoncello, presidente do Hello Group, que realiza pesquisas de inteligência de mercado e marketing esportivo. "Hawilla era dono da companhia que tinha os direitos de transmissão dos maiores torneios, e é por isso que ele era uma das personalidades mais importantes do esporte".

Agora Hawilla, de 71 anos, é um personagem principal no escândalo da FIFA envolvendo 14 importantes oficiais e executivos do futebol. Ele detalhou aos promotores dos EUA como ele estava no centro de mais de US$100 milhões em subornos que garantiam direitos comerciais, e concordou em devolver US$51 milhões. Ele também deverá vender a Traffic, de acordo com documentos judiciais.
Corrupção na FIFA. Empresa dona do Estoril no centro do escândalo

por Lusa
28 maio

Corrupção na FIFA. Empresa dona do Estoril no centro do escândalo

O dono do grupo Traffic, o brasileiro José Hawilla, é um dos envolvidos que aceitou colaborar com a justiça norte-americana na investigação.

A empresa brasileira de marketing desportivo Traffic, proprietária do Estoril-Praia, organizadora da Copa América e detentora de direitos televisivos em muitos campeonatos, está no centro do escândalo de corrupção da FIFA.

O dono do grupo Traffic, o brasileiro José Hawilla, é um dos envolvidos que aceitou colaborar com a justiça norte-americana na investigação sobre fraude, lavagem de dinheiro e corrupção nos últimos 24 anos, durante os quais, segundo as autoridades, foram pagos pelo menos 151 milhões de dólares em subornos (cerca de 140 milhões de euros.
Hawilla admitiu as acusações de fraude eletrónica, lavagem de dinheiro e obstrução à justiça pela sua implicação no caso e aceitou devolver 151 milhões de dólares através da Tusa, braço da Traffic nos Estados Unidos, onde foi desencadeada a investigação que levou à detenção de sete dirigentes ou ex-dirigentes da FIFA na Suíça.

O Estoril-Praia foi adquirido pela Traffic Sports Europe em 2010 quando estava na II Liga e, de lá para cá, tendo como administrador o brasileiro Tiago Ribeiro, subiu à I Liga, na qual permanece há três épocas, apurou-se pela primeira vez as competições europeias, ao terminar o campeonato de 2012/13 em quinto, e repetiu a proeza na época seguinte, alcançando o quarto lugar.

Durante a gestão de Tiago Ribeiro, passaram pelo Estoril alguns jogadores que depois saltaram para os três grandes do futebol português, como Carlos Eduardo e Licá (FC Porto), Jardel (Benfica) ou Jefferson (Sporting).
ORGANIZADOR DA COPA DO MUNDO DE 2010 RECONHECE PAGAMENTO DE US$ 10 MILHÕES À FIFA

SEGUNDO DANNY JORDAAN, DINHEIRO FOI DIRECIONADO À CONCACAF PARA PROMOVER O DESENVOLVIMENTO DO FUTEBOL NA REGIÃO

 
O ex-presidente do Comitê Organizador Local do Mundial de 2010 disputado na África do Sul, Danny Jordaan, reconheceu que o organismo que dirigiu pagou, em 2008, US$ 10 milhões à Fifa, embora negou que tinha sido um suborno.

Blatter diz que não teme investigações dos EUA sobre corrupção

Príncipe jordaniano desiste, e Blatter é reeleito presidente da Fifa

As declarações de Jordaan, publicadas neste domingo no "Sunday Independent", ocorre dias depois que uma
investigação do FBI acusou dirigentes da Fifa de receber US$ 10 milhões da África do Sul em troca do apoio na votação final sobre o país anfitrião da Copa de 2010.

Tanto o governo sul-africano como a Associação Sul-Africana de Futebol (Safa) -da qual Jordaan, que acaba de ser nomeado prefeito da cidade sulina de Port Elizabeth, é presidente- negaram qualquer pagamento em troca de votos para organizar a Copa do Mundo.

Segundo Jordaan, os US$ 10 milhões foram pagos à Confederação de Futebol da América do Norte, Central e o Caribe (Concacaf) para promover o desenvolvimento do futebol na zona.

O presidente da Concacaf era então Jack Warner, que ocupava também a presidência da Fifa e quem, segundo a investigação do FBI, recebeu o suposto suborno de US$ 10 milhões para votar pela África do Sul e conseguir o apoio para esta candidatura de outros dois membros com direito a voto.

Com os votos de Warner e outros dois diretores, que teriam recebido parte do dinheiro, a candidatura da África do Sul venceu a de Marrocos por 14 votos a 10 na votação final, realizada em 2004.

"Como podemos ter pago um suborno pelos votos quatro anos após ter ganho o processo", disse Jordaan ao "Sunday Independent", rejeitando que o dinheiro fora para comprar a vontade de Warner e seus dois supostos cúmplices.

Segundo o jornal, a Concacaf foi a única federação regional do mundo que recebeu ajuda econômica do Comitê Organizador Local do Mundial de 2010.

Segundo as autoridades do futebol sul-africano, este tratamento preferencial se deve à consideração de parte da população da América do Norte, Central e o Caribe como "diáspora africana".

A investigação do FBI assegura que Warner cobrou os US$ 10 milhões da África do Sul descontando-os da quantidade que a Fifa pagou ao país austral para fazer frente às despesas de organização.

Segundo o "Sunday Independent", a Safa só recebeu US$ 80 milhões dos US$ 100 milhões que devia ter acesso para preparar o evento.

A Fifa descontou US$ 10 milhões para financiar a construção da nova sede da Safa, enquanto os outros US$ 10 milhões foram investidos no "Fundo de Desenvolvimento da Concacaf".

Warner foi detido nesta semana junto com outros diretores da Fifa envolvidos no escândalo de corrupção.

Tanto a oposição como grupos da sociedade civil sul-africana pediram explicações ao governo pela suposta compra de votos para sediar o Mundial.
Department of Justice - Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Nine FIFA Officials and Five Corporate Executives Indicted for Racketeering Conspiracy and Corruption

The Defendants Include Two Current FIFA Vice Presidents and the Current and Former Presidents of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF); Seven Defendants Arrested Overseas; Guilty Pleas for Four Individual Defendants and Two Corporate Defendants Also Unsealed

A 47-count indictment was unsealed early this morning in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, charging 14 defendants with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies, among other offenses, in connection with the defendants’ participation in a 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer.  The guilty pleas of four individual defendants and two corporate defendants were also unsealed today.

The defendants charged in the indictment include high-ranking officials of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the organization responsible for the regulation and promotion of soccer worldwide, as well as leading officials of other soccer governing bodies that operate under the FIFA umbrella.  Jeffrey Webb and Jack Warner – the current and former presidents of CONCACAF, the continental confederation under FIFA headquartered in the United States – are among the soccer officials charged with racketeering and bribery offenses.  The defendants also include U.S. and South American sports marketing executives who are alleged to have systematically paid and agreed to pay well over $150 million in bribes and kickbacks to obtain lucrative media and marketing rights to international soccer tournaments.

The charges were announced by Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, Acting U.S. Attorney Kelly T. Currie of the Eastern District of New York, Director James B. Comey of the FBI, Assistant Director in Charge Diego W. Rodriguez of the FBI’s New York Field Office, Chief Richard Weber of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) and Special Agent in Charge Erick Martinez of the IRS-CI’s Los Angeles Field Office.

Also earlier this morning, Swiss authorities in Zurich arrested seven of the defendants charged in the indictment, the defendants Jeffrey Webb, Eduardo Li, Julio Rocha, Costas Takkas, Eugenio Figueredo, Rafael Esquivel and José Maria Marin, at the request of the United States.  Also this morning, a search warrant is being executed at CONCACAF headquarters in Miami, Florida.

The guilty pleas of the four individual and two corporate defendants that were also unsealed today include the guilty pleas of Charles Blazer, the long-serving former general secretary of CONCACAF and former U.S. representative on the FIFA executive committee; José Hawilla, the owner and founder of the Traffic Group, a multinational sports marketing conglomerate headquartered in Brazil; and two of Hawilla’s companies, Traffic Sports International Inc. and Traffic Sports USA Inc., which is based in Florida.

“The indictment alleges corruption that is rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted both abroad and here in the United States,” said Attorney General Lynch.  “It spans at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks.  And it has profoundly harmed a multitude of victims, from the youth leagues and developing countries that should benefit from the revenue generated by the commercial rights these organizations hold, to the fans at home and throughout the world whose support for the game makes those rights valuable.  Today’s action makes clear that this Department of Justice intends to end any such corrupt practices, to root out misconduct, and to bring wrongdoers to justice – and we look forward to continuing to work with other countries in this effort.”

Attorney General Lynch extended her grateful appreciation to the authorities of the government of Switzerland, as well as several other international partners, for their outstanding assistance in this investigation.

“Today’s announcement should send a message that enough is enough,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Currie.  “After decades of what the indictment alleges to be brazen corruption, organized international soccer needs a new start – a new chance for its governing institutions to provide honest oversight and support of a sport that is beloved across the world, increasingly so here in the United States.  Let me be clear: this indictment is not the final chapter in our investigation.” 

Acting U.S. Attorney Currie extended his thanks to the agents, analysts and other investigative personnel with the FBI New York Eurasian Joint Organized Crime Squad and the IRS-CI Los Angeles Field Office, as well as their colleagues abroad, for their tremendous effort in this case.

“As charged in the indictment, the defendants fostered a culture of corruption and greed that created an uneven playing field for the biggest sport in the world,” said Director Comey.  “Undisclosed and illegal payments, kickbacks, and bribes became a way of doing business at FIFA.  I want to commend the investigators and prosecutors around the world who have pursued this case so diligently, for so many years.”

“When leaders in an organization resort to cheating the very members that they are supposed to represent, they must be held accountable,” said Chief Weber.  “Corruption, tax evasion and money laundering are certainly not the cornerstones of any successful business.  Whether you call it soccer or football, the fans, players and sponsors around the world who love this game should not have to worry about officials corrupting their sport.  This case isn't about soccer, it is about fairness and following the law.  IRS-CI will continue to investigate financial crimes and follow the money wherever it may lead around the world, leveling the playing field for those who obey the law.”

The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The Enterprise

FIFA is composed of 209 member associations, each representing organized soccer in a particular nation or territory, including the United States and four of its overseas territories.  FIFA also recognizes six continental confederations that assist it in governing soccer in different regions of the world.  The U.S. Soccer Federation is one of 41 member associations of the confederation known as CONCACAF, which has been headquartered in the United States throughout the period charged in the indictment.  The South American confederation, called CONMEBOL, is also a focus of the indictment.

As alleged in the indictment, FIFA and its six continental confederations, together with affiliated regional federations, national member associations and sports marketing companies, constitute an enterprise of legal entities associated in fact for purposes of the federal racketeering laws.  The principal – and entirely legitimate – purpose of the enterprise is to regulate and promote the sport of soccer worldwide.

As alleged in the indictment, one key way the enterprise derives revenue is to commercialize the media and marketing rights associated with soccer events and tournaments.  The organizing entity that owns those rights – as FIFA and CONCACAF do with respect to the World Cup and Gold Cup, their respective flagship tournaments – sells them to sports marketing companies, often through multi-year contracts covering multiple editions of the tournaments.  The sports marketing companies, in turn, sell the rights downstream to TV and radio broadcast networks, major corporate sponsors and other sub-licensees who want to broadcast the matches or promote their brands.  The revenue generated from these contracts is substantial: according to FIFA, 70% of its $5.7 billion in total revenues between 2011 and 2014 was attributable to the sale of TV and marketing rights to the 2014 World Cup.

The Racketeering Conspiracy

The indictment alleges that, between 1991 and the present, the defendants and their co-conspirators corrupted the enterprise by engaging in various criminal activities, including fraud, bribery and money laundering.  Two generations of soccer officials abused their positions of trust for personal gain, frequently through an alliance with unscrupulous sports marketing executives who shut out competitors and kept highly lucrative contracts for themselves through the systematic payment of bribes and kickbacks.  All told, the soccer officials are charged with conspiring to solicit and receive well over $150 million in bribes and kickbacks in exchange for their official support of the sports marketing executives who agreed to make the unlawful payments.

Most of the schemes alleged in the indictment relate to the solicitation and receipt of bribes and kickbacks by soccer officials from sports marketing executives in connection with the commercialization of the media and marketing rights associated with various soccer matches and tournaments, including FIFA World Cup qualifiers in the CONCACAF region, the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the CONCACAF Champions League, the jointly organized CONMEBOL/CONCACAF Copa América Centenario, the CONMEBOL Copa América, the CONMEBOL Copa Libertadores and the Copa do Brasil, which is organized by the Brazilian national soccer federation (CBF).  Other alleged schemes relate to the payment and receipt of bribes and kickbacks in connection with the sponsorship of CBF by a major U.S. sportswear company, the selection of the host country for the 2010 World Cup and the 2011 FIFA presidential election.

The Indicted Defendants

As set forth in the indictment, the defendants and their co-conspirators fall generally into three categories: soccer officials acting in a fiduciary capacity within FIFA and one or more of its constituent organizations; sports media and marketing company executives; and businessmen, bankers and other trusted intermediaries who laundered illicit payments.

Nine of the defendants were FIFA officials by operation of the FIFA statutes, as well as officials of one or more other bodies:

Jeffrey Webb: Current FIFA vice president and executive committee member, CONCACAF president, Caribbean Football Union (CFU) executive committee member and Cayman Islands Football Association (CIFA) president.

Eduardo Li: Current FIFA executive committee member-elect, CONCACAF executive committee member and Costa Rican soccer federation (FEDEFUT) president.

Julio Rocha: Current FIFA development officer.  Former Central American Football Union (UNCAF) president and Nicaraguan soccer federation (FENIFUT) president.

Costas Takkas: Current attaché to the CONCACAF president.  Former CIFA general secretary.

Jack Warner: Former FIFA vice president and executive committee member, CONCACAF president, CFU president and Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) special adviser.

Eugenio Figueredo: Current FIFA vice president and executive committee member.  Former CONMEBOL president and Uruguayan soccer federation (AUF) president.

Rafael Esquivel: Current CONMEBOL executive committee member and Venezuelan soccer federation (FVF) president.

José Maria Marin: Current member of the FIFA organizing committee for the Olympic football tournaments.  Former CBF president.

Nicolás Leoz: Former FIFA executive committee member and CONMEBOL president.

            Four of the defendants were sports marketing executives:

Alejandro Burzaco: Controlling principal of Torneos y Competencias S.A., a sports marketing business based in Argentina, and its affiliates.

Aaron Davidson: President of Traffic Sports USA Inc. (Traffic USA).

Hugo and Mariano Jinkis: Controlling principals of Full Play Group S.A., a sports marketing business based in Argentina, and its affiliates.

And one of the defendants was in the broadcasting business but allegedly served as an intermediary to facilitate illicit payments between sports marketing executives and soccer officials:

José Margulies:  Controlling principal of Valente Corp. and Somerton Ltd.

The Convicted Individuals and Corporations

The following individuals and corporations previously pleaded guilty under seal:

On July 15, 2013, the defendant Daryll Warner, son of defendant Jack Warner and a former FIFA development officer, waived indictment and pleaded guilty to a two-count information charging him with wire fraud and the structuring of financial transactions.

On Oct. 25, 2013, the defendant Daryan Warner waived indictment and pleaded guilty to a three-count information charging him with wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and the structuring of financial transactions.  Daryan Warner forfeited over $1.1 million around the time of his plea and has agreed to pay a second forfeiture money judgment at the time of sentencing.

On Nov. 25, 2013, the defendant Charles Blazer, the former CONCACAF general secretary and a former FIFA executive committee member, waived indictment and pleaded guilty to a 10-count information charging him with racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, income tax evasion and failure to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR).  Blazer forfeited over $1.9 million at the time of his plea and has agreed to pay a second amount to be determined at the time of sentencing.

On Dec. 12, 2014, the defendant José Hawilla, the owner and founder of the Traffic Group, the Brazilian sports marketing conglomerate, waived indictment and pleaded guilty to a four-count information charging him with racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and obstruction of justice.  Hawilla also agreed to forfeit over $151 million, $25 million of which was paid at the time of his plea.

On May 14, 2015, the defendants Traffic Sports USA Inc. and Traffic Sports International Inc. pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy.

All money forfeited by the defendants is being held in reserve to ensure its availability to satisfy any order of restitution entered at sentencing for the benefit of any individuals or entities that qualify as victims of the defendants’ crimes under federal law.

* * * *

The indictment unsealed today has been assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Raymond J. Dearie of the Eastern District of New York.

The indicted and convicted individual defendants face maximum terms of incarceration of 20 years for the RICO conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering conspiracy, money laundering and obstruction of justice charges.  In addition, Eugenio Figueredo faces a maximum term of incarceration of 10 years for a charge of naturalization fraud and could have his U.S. citizenship revoked.  He also faces a maximum term of incarceration of five years for each tax charge.  Charles Blazer faces a maximum term of incarceration of 10 years for the FBAR charge and five years for the tax evasion charges; and Daryan and Daryll Warner face maximum terms of incarceration of 10 years for structuring financial transactions to evade currency reporting requirements.  Each individual defendant also faces mandatory restitution, forfeiture and a fine.  By the terms of their plea agreements, the corporate defendants face fines of $500,000 and one year of probation.

The government’s investigation is ongoing.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Evan M. Norris, Amanda Hector, Darren A. LaVerne, Samuel P. Nitze, Keith D. Edelman and Brian D. Morris of the Eastern District of New York, with assistance provided by the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs and Organized Crime and Gang Section.

The Indicted Defendants:

ALEJANDRO BURZACO

Age:  50

Nationality: Argentina

AARON DAVIDSON

Age:  44

Nationality: USA

RAFAEL ESQUIVEL

Age:  68

Nationality: Venezuela

EUGENIO FIGUEREDO

Age:   83

Nationality: USA, Uruguay

HUGO JINKIS

Age:   70

Nationality: Argentina

MARIANO JINKIS

Age:   40

Nationality: Argentina

NICOLÁS LEOZ

Age:   86

Nationality: Paraguay

EDUARDO LI

Age:   56

Nationality: Costa Rica

JOSÉ MARGULIES, also known as José Lazaro

Age:   75

Nationality: Brazil

JOSÉ MARIA MARIN

Age:   83

Nationality: Brazil

JULIO ROCHA

Age:   64

Nationality: Nicaragua

COSTAS TAKKAS

Age:   58

Nationality: United Kingdom

JACK WARNER

Age:   72

Nationality: Trinidad and Tobago

JEFFREY WEBB

Age:   50

Nationality: Cayman Islands
Ofensiva Americana.

Eliminação controversa dos Estados Unidos da América no processo de selecção de candidaturas para 2018 e 2022 e atribuição à Rússia e ao Qatar sob fortes suspeitas de concertação, terão levado o país do "Yankee Soccer" a lançar a maior ofensiva de sempre ao que dizem ser um dos desportos mais corruptos do mundo.


The World Has Had Enough With FIFA

This is not the beginning of the end for FIFA corruption, but it is the end of the beginning.

Hayden Bird
05/27/15 @9:07am   in Sports

Only hours after FIFA President Joseph "Sepp" Blatter dismissed the charge that he was a "dictator" with customarily contemptuous nonchalance,  it finally appears that his overtly corrupt organization is getting its comeuppance. In the early Wednesday hours, Swiss police made an unannounced raid of the lavish Baur au Lac hotel to arrest some of the most powerful officials in soccer's dominant governing body on corruption charges at the request of the United States Justice Department.

For once, the U.S role of "world policeman" is being lauded:

And rightfully so, because while the arrests do not yet include the dictatorial Blatter, FIFA's domineering leader of the past 18 years, the investigation appears headed in his direction. Swiss authorities are also launching their own investigation, which is a reexamination of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup votes.


Such an investigation could eventually lead to the seemingly unassailable Blatter being brought to justice, though for the moment he has escaped the net.

The beautiful game has never looked more openly ugly than it currently does, but this is clearly the first step in the long process of clearing up the world's most corrupt sports organization.

Why is FIFA corrupt?

FIFA, or Fédération Internationale de Football Association, is soccer's governing body in determining the location of and organizing of the World Cup. In case you've forgotten, the World Cup is the most dominant sports event on the planet. As a result, FIFA is inevitably a center of power. What they determine not only affects billions of people from decade to decade, but also involves billions of dollars.

For years, the organization has been dogged by corruption charges, stemming from kickbacks to vote buying.

The most notorious (and blatant) example of (alleged) corruption occurred in the voting for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, which were awarded to Russia and Qatar.

Given also that the United States was bidding for the 2022 World Cup (which was award to Qatar), it paints a questionable picture. How did a nation the size of Connecticut and in a summer climate that averages between 106 and 107 degrees Fahrenheit beat out the nation with the world's most capable sports infrastructure?

The answer was (obviously) a rigging of the voting process.

And it gets worse, because the outcome of Qatar's selection has been nothing short of a human rights crisis. As ESPN's E60 has investigated (along with others), the labor being used to construct the clearly unsustainable facilities for the tournament are essentially slaves.

Despite this, FIFA has been unmoved to vote again.

Of course, the ringleader behind FIFA (Sepp Blatter), is poised to once again win election as the organization's president. In his reelection campaign, Blatter declined to even debate the challengers against him. Luis Figo, one of the best soccer players in Portugal's history and a man seen as clean from corruption, ran briefly as one of the candidates against Blatter but quit his campaign in disgust. He was the one who labelled Blatter a "dictator."

How is the United States arresting international officials in Switzerland?

Supported by the F.B.I, the Department of Justice spearheaded an investigation of corruption in FIFA. The initial focus (as reflected in the arrests made so far) appears to be on local tournaments in North and South America, where the investigation is able to pin U.S. connections on them. This is the key in getting officials extradited to U.S. courts from Switzerland (where FIFA is based).

Because of U.S. laws aimed at arresting international terrorists, the Justice Department is able to pin charges in certain circumstances even when the alleged criminals are not in the country. Swiss legal treaties with the U.S. allows for an unusual loophole: While extradition is not permitted for tax crimes, it is allowed in the case of general criminal law.

This explains the U.S. charges so far.

Chuck Blazer, the former United States FIFA executive committee member, played a central role in the investigation and arrests. After agreeing to plead guilty in 2013 to 10 counts that included conspiracy, racketeering and wire fraud, Blazer cooperated with investigators. His role was crucial.

As of now, the U.S. crackdown has arrested this group, according to a release from the DOJ:

Jeffrey Webb: Current FIFA vice president and executive committee member, CONCACAF president, Caribbean Football Union (CFU) executive committee member and Cayman Islands Football Association (CIFA) president.
Eduardo Li: Current FIFA executive committee member-elect, CONCACAF executive committee member and Costa Rican soccer federation (FEDEFUT) president.
Julio Rocha: Current FIFA development officer.  Former Central American Football Union (UNCAF) president and Nicaraguan soccer federation (FENIFUT) president.
Costas Takkas: Current attaché to the CONCACAF president.  Former CIFA general secretary.
Jack Warner: Former FIFA vice president and executive committee member, CONCACAF president, CFU president and Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) special adviser.
Eugenio Figueredo: Current FIFA vice president and executive committee member.  Former CONMEBOL president and Uruguayan soccer federation (AUF) president.
Rafael Esquivel: Current CONMEBOL executive committee member and Venezuelan soccer federation (FVF) president.
José Maria Marin: Current member of the FIFA organizing committee for the Olympic football tournaments.  Former CBF president.
Nicolás Leoz: Former FIFA executive committee member and CONMEBOL president.
Alejandro Burzaco: Controlling principal of Torneos y Competencias S.A., a sports marketing business based in Argentina, and its affiliates.
Aaron Davidson: President of Traffic Sports USA Inc. (Traffic USA).
Hugo and Mariano Jinkis: Controlling principals of Full Play Group S.A., a sports marketing business based in Argentina, and its affiliates.
José Margulies:  Controlling principal of Valente Corp. and Somerton Ltd.
Will there be a revote on Qatar?

At the moment, FIFA has announced no change or revote for the 2018 or 2022 World Cups. However, the Swiss investigation, unlike the current DOJ situation, is directly looking into the voting process that determined Qatar and Russia getting winning bids.

Additionally, the U.S. investigation is only beginning. Acting U.S. Attorney Kelly T. Currie had this to say of the future:

Today’s announcement should send a message that enough is enough. After decades of what the indictment alleges to be brazen corruption, organized international soccer needs a new start – a new chance for its governing institutions to provide honest oversight and support of a sport that is beloved across the world, increasingly so here in the United States.  Let me be clear: this indictment is not the final chapter in our investigation.
Chapter one is now over, but who will be left standing when the final chapter is closed remains to be seen. For the moment, FIFA is going ahead with business as usual, and will still hold its presidential election on Friday, where Blatter is again expected to win without issue.

Still, this is the most organized international effort arrayed against FIFA in history, and it's clear that the world as a whole is sick of the most popular sport on the planet being riddled with overt corruption.