Accessibility Links

FIFA Scandal (Part One) – Red Card for FIFA Officials

Posted by: Laurence Simons 29/05/15

The highly controversial news of the arrest of nine FIFA officials in a luxury hotel in Zurich has whipped up a media frenzy as the world waits for the story to unfold. We will be closely following the news and regularly updating our blog with details of the case.

So, what happened? The allegations are that a count of 47 individuals were involved in an estimated total of $150 million paid to FIFA officials in a series of bribes aimed at areas such as sponsorship and hosting – many initially questioned the decision for Qatar to host the World Cup in 2022, theirs being a nation that is relatively uninvolved in football and experiences summer temperatures of 50 degrees and higher. Following this, an investigation has been launched into both the Russia and Qatar host bids. It remains uncertain whether there will be a revote.

Loretta Lynch, US Attorney-General, referred to the corruption as “rampant, systemic and deep-rooted” in her speech, and is already being hailed as “the woman who took on FIFA”. But how were the US able to arrest these men for fraud, racketeering, bribery and money-laundering, and how will they extradite them, as they plan, back to the United States?

The 1977 Foreign Corrupt Practices Act decrees that it is an offence for any US company – or crucially any company with US operations – to bribe officials. FIFA has a US office, which makes it accessible for the Department of Justice to investigate. There are critics of this act however, and some of them are in very high places. Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, has stepped in to comment that the US are “meddling” in affairs which do not concern them, and merely attempting to be imperial and extend their jurisdiction.

We eagerly await the coming revelations; this story may change how the world perceives sports and legal counsel together!

To be continued…