FIFA’s Long Game

The American-led probe against corruption in soccer will face stiff resistance from the world governing body.

Comments: 33

  1. How about a list of the people and corporations alleged to have made these bribes?

  2. Even though we like to take the moral high ground when it comes professional sports in the USA, other countries don't share our moral compass. N.F.L. to M.L.B cracked down on performance enhancing drugs to legally gambling on one's team to create a notion of a clean or pure sport. Sadly to say other countries see corruption to match fixing as business of usual when it comes to professional sports. The culture of corruption,bribery, and match fixing won't change until the leadership at the top of FIFA changes.

  3. Frankly, I don't understand how FIFA could have survived on only $1.4 billion in income in the last World Cup cycle.

    How can anyone live on so little money, considering the costs of 5-star hotels, private jets and Ferrari's? It's shameful.

    No wonder the leaders of the central and regional football associations had to scrounge for payoffs and kickbacks wherever they could, hitting up national federations, governments and big advertisers and sponsors for half a million here, $10 million there... It's shameful, I tell you!

    Bribery and graft just ain't what it used to be.

  4. Soccer is a beautiful game, too bad that at the international level it is tainted to such an extent by crime and corruption.

  5. Never French-kiss a rattlesnake: The DoJ has brought these prosecutions under RICO, the same statute they used to take the Teamsters union, which has just as deeply-ingrained a culture of corruption, into administration. No, I don't expect them to take FIFA into administration, but don't rule out a consent agreement specifying in extreme detail the steps FIFA will take.

    Warner's sons have already rolled on him; once the Americans have him in their hands, do you think he is going to fall on his sword for Blatter? Or is he going to sing? And what song will DoJ be requesting, but the Sepp Blatter Blues?

    Blatter, and not only Blatter, is an old man. Do these men want to spend the rest of their lives on trial, if not in jail? Or are they going to look to make the best deal they can?

  6. This is a very odd article, it seems almost an apology for Fifa.

  7. It is no such thing. Read it again -- and pay attention this time!

  8. I see it as merely an attempt to manage expectations about any changes to FIFA resulting from the US's investigations.

  9. The credibility of the good professor's piece is perfectly represented by the following statement: "Widely seen as corrupt at the time of the Salt Lake City scandal, it has done much to reform itself."

  10. The article next to this one on the web-page says: "On Friday, the annual congress of FIFA, the governing body of world soccer, is scheduled to vote on a proposal to suspend Israel from the organization."

    So just a couple of days before that scheduled vote, the leaders of that meeting are arrested. Foreigners are arrested by the US for things done in foreign places and affecting foreign places.

    It is not coincidence that these two things happen at the same time. It is lawfare. And yes, FIFA is probably corrupt. That isn't the point. There are a lot of other things needing US prosecution, like US banks and US money in politics and much more. Why was THIS done, and why was it done NOW? The two things go together.

  11. So we can play Israel if FIFA suspends the US for investigating the corruption. Israel might be a better place to play than Russia and Qutar.

  12. THIS was done because the suspects have allegedly violated US laws involving US activities with US dollars using US banks. It was done NOW because all of the suspects were in one place for the congress. No conspiracy theories are necessary.

  13. How are these guys different from bankers? Slap on the wrist, please.

  14. The corruption in football (a/k/a soccer) worldwide has been very well know - but as the saying goes; "It is not what you 'know' but what you can 'prove.'"

    FIFA is one of the most powerful and its corruption organizations in the world. It is almost ironic that it took 2nd tier football countries, the US and the Swiss, to address the corruption of FIFA. Where are the France, England, Brazil or German authorities? Silent. Absent. I am sure that the corruption of CONCACAF pales in comparison to what EUFA and CAF.

    Having the United States lead the battle against corruption is almost like having Sweden addressing corruption in the NHL ...

    Well done USA and Switzerland. Well done.

  15. When did we become the Unites States of the Wrld and decide that every country is under our jurisdiction. Boy are we hypocrites. Lets worry about the US teams and organization and if the world body want to wallow in corruption and that evil smelling brown stuff...well let them. When in Rome... and we are not in Rome. Boycott Qatar, and Russia, do not pay dues to FIFA and start a new soccer group for those willing to play fair and not be corrupted by greed.

  16. FIFA is self governing and sets its own rules and transparency, which they can overlook and ignore at will, as they seem to have done. Very reminiscent of the US Congress and its rules and ethics committees - Same problems.

  17. I believe there is an old saw which says, "Absolute power, corrupts absolutely, which is certainly appropriate when discussing the governing officials for FIFA.

  18. How can we affect the outcome? Through FIFA's sponsers that's how. Let's tell;

    Visa;
    Adidas;
    Budwiser (the US one);
    MacDonalds;
    Hyundai/Kia

    That wr are not going to purchase (or use) their products until they 'get rid of the bums'.

  19. We Americans do not care enough about soccer to pay attention to it except for a couple weeks during the World Cup, but you expect us to give up Budweiser and Macdonalds because of FIFA corruption? Surely you jest.

  20. Wall Streeters who bankrupted millions are too big to fail while FIFA is too small to succeed. The U.S. has become the world's center of hypocrisy.

  21. Folks ... FIFA meets the predicates for RICO. The western EU nations have extradition treaties with the US, and none of them want FIFA to continue as a racketeering enterprise.

    A bunch of 2nd-tier FIFA guys have been arrested and extradited. It's not going to take very long before at least a few come to the conclusion that their lives are ruined now, the odds are high they will spend the rest of their lives in an American prison ... unless they can make a deal.

    They will deal. The only thing they have to bargain with is Sepp.

    FIFA will not continue as it has. For all practical purposes the World Cup is won by a team from UEFA these days ... the US is not yet a world-class contender and Brazil is in decline.

    None of the major nations, Brazil (and other CONMEBOL nations), Mexico, USA (and other CONCACAF nations) included, has had advantage from this corruption.

    Collectively however UEFA + CONMEBOL + CONCACAF can certainly stop it.

  22. This hoopla is nothing other than an attempt to intimidate FIFA Congress as it votes tomorrow on whether or not to boot Israel. T

    hat's why it's a major front page story, not because Americans care to waste their tax dollars in this investigation, instead of investigating corruption in US Congress and Financial Industry.

  23. Who cares if they don't "necessarily endorse" the indictments? Law enforcement isn't a popularity contest. Furthermore, Blatter's stick of suspending the US soccer federation, so be it.

    As for the distribution of funds to Africa, it doesn't take a corrupt regime to do that. And for all those who have so much to lose, well, isn't that exactly the point? Loss of ill-gotten gains?

    Not so wealthy, you say. Only $1.4 billion a year. Hello! That's what's on the books. And by the way, UEFA hasn't been indicted for anything so the comparison is baseless. No one is talking about making money honestly.

    What sealed Fifa's fate is its constant thumbing of its nose at the law, (and indirectly, at its sponsors), it's swagger, and its secretiveness.

    How much support will there be in the rest of the world? What are they going to do about it? Except for a few, they are all going to stop talking about this in a few days when they realize they don't want to get anywhere near it.

    In fact so much of this argument is just silly, such as the entire paragraph starting with "There has always been a thin line between corruption and legitimate business networking." Yeah. That line is the one between the prison cell and the 5 star palaces of Switzerland.

  24. Re the rampant corruption in FIFA and the debate and decision today whether to keep in Israel or vote it out, the scuttlebutt is that Qatar (supporter of Hamas) is bribing (or paying ) delegates to vote against Israel, but we all know that this cannot possibly be true. After all, an internal investigation in FIFA cleared Qatar of any wrong doing re World Cup 2022 and that investigation should be good enough for everybody.
    Keep Israel in or boot it out, it will not make one iota of difference regarding the ultimate resolution of any political problem.
    Israel fields mediocre teams (and good players end up on European teams) and the Palestinians less than that. Some soccer fans will be disappointed, but if anybody thinks that the resolution of the struggle Israelis and Palestinians is in the soccer fields or FIFA congress then they have been effected too much by the hot Middle Eastern sun.

  25. Could anyone explain why a US court would have jurisdiction over events that occurred outside its borders?

  26. Courts have jurisdiction over conspiracies and criminal organizations if any part of the act or conspiracy took place within the court's physical jurisdiction. Not an attorney (someone else may wish to add) but this is the basic concept. It actually gives courts incredibly expansive jurisdiction and it can certainly be argued as to whether this reach is a good thing.

  27. Because the events happened inside their borders. The criminal charges have to do with what happened in US banks and within US territories with US currency. I am quite sure there are countless other transgressions by FIFA that lie outside the jurisdiction of US law. That corruption is for others to combat, but will they?

  28. If the major European Nations whose organization UEFA stood solidly together and boycotted an upcoming World Cup with their own tournament it might break FIFA and they are almost angry enough with FIFA to do that.

    If either or both of the great South American power houses joined, the resulting World Cup could not be taken seriously.

    World Football deserves and honest organization. Scheduling the World Cup in Qatar was the bridge too far and the stories of slave labor and death there among the workers should be the last straw.

  29. One just has to laugh when a government of undoubtedly the most corrupt country in the world, where not only private capital controls the entirety of political process wholesale but that control is actually enshrined in the constitution (according to the highest court), declares a crusade against few petty functionaries of a hobby club.

  30. They'll be sorry they ever brought world soccer to the US. We'll let corrupt bankers skate, but we insist on having our games (relatively) clean...

  31. Sepp Blatter did much that is laudable for FIFA. Two of the things that are not, however, are (a) its refusal to address match-fixing issues more vigorously and (b) turning the entire operation into a gigantic slush fund. the difference with FIFA is that its payouts/payoffs to regional & national football associations are done out in the open, under the guise of "Development & Support." And since FIFA's books are unaudited and there's no oversight of distributed funds once they leave Switzerland, anything goes...

    the bleach to cleanse FIFA's stench rests entirely w/ its corporate sponsers and the media companies that purchase control of the broadcasting rights - starve the beast.

  32. "the bleach to cleanse FIFA's stench rests entirely w/ its corporate spons0rs and the media companies that purchase control of the broadcasting rights - starve the beast." Change will come when the multinational corporations stop playing with FIFA and/or establish a new organization.

  33. how did FIFA ever get started and why world did all the professional football leagues and govt's ever acquiesce to this extortionist organization. Best answer is that everyone is paid off. Games are also fixed at the orders of FIFA.
    Pro Wrestling is more honest and has the SEC to look at the books.