Just yesterday, the Godfather of Irish football condemned Sepp Blater for his undue control of FIFA. Today, a number of top officials have been arrested in Switzerland ahead of extradition to the US. Coincidence? We think not.
But in all seriousness, the extraordinary raid on a Zurich hotel this morning marks a very significant moment in the ongoing descent of FIFA into a seemingly bottomless moral pit.
According to the New York Times, a number of top officials were taken from the Baur au Lac hotel this morning ahead of extradition to the US to face federal corruption charges. Although Sepp Blatter is not among them, some of his most ardent supporters are, including the FIFA Vice President Jeffrey Webb.
— The New York Times (@nytimes) May 27, 2015
At the moment it seems six individuals have been taken from the hotel. However, it is being reported that as many as fifteen could be arrested throughout the morning. The most apparent charge against the officials is staggering levels of bribery total more than $100m.
Here is the official statement from the Swiss Federal Office of Justice
The six soccer functionaries were arrested today in Zurich by the Zurich Cantonal Police.
The FOJ’s arrest warrants were issued further to a request by the US authorities.
The US attorney’s office for the eastern district of New York is investigating these individuals on suspicion of the acceptance of bribes and kickbacks between the early 1990s and the present day.
The bribery suspects – representatives of sports media and sports promotion firms – are alleged to have been involved in schemes to make payments to the soccer functionaries – delegates of Fifa (Federation Internationale de Football Association) and other functionaries of Fifa sub-organisations – totalling more than US$100m.
In return, it is believed that they received media, marketing, and sponsorship rights in connection with soccer tournaments in Latin America.
According to the US request, these crimes were agreed and prepared in the US, and payments were carried out via US banks.
More to follow.