Futbol. Soccer. Football. Voetbal. Calcio. Futebol.
These are all names across the world for the most popular sport on earth. On Tuesday, the governing body that rules over this global event was hit hard when 14 of their ranking officials/business partners were arrested in Switzerland. These 14 individuals were taken under charges of conspiracy and corruption of the sport of Soccer across the globe.
Many regional FIFA governing bodies (think conferences in NCAA Football) were affected by these individuals with fixed games, racketeering and other frivolous and scandalous acts. Both America’s regional body CONCACAF and COMMEBOL were cited as being part of this grand conspiracy by United States Attorney General Lorretta Lynch. The question now becomes, what is it exactly that these officials did and why is this so important on a global level?
FIFA is the largest sports governing body in the world. They rule the sport that brings in over 1/3 of the world’s population to watch their major tournament and also has four of the top ten most valuable sports organizations in the world. For many years, it had been speculated there was corruption in this large governing body. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and in FIFA’s case, it apparently had for many years. The charges put upon these individuals spans the course of over two decades.
The specific charges point to alleged bribery and fixing of soccer matches. Various media outlets and marketing schemes were also utilized to funnel money into these events that would control the outcome of the matches. The affected matches including World Cup Qualifiers in America’s region of CONCACAF, the CONCACAF tournament, the Gold Cup, the CONCACAF championship tournament also known as the Champions League, and also two national tournaments in the COPA America and COPA Libertadores.
Considering the type of money these tournaments give FIFA, it seems as no surprise individuals took advantage of the system to benefit themselves.
The big controversy that hits home for the United States is the host selection process for the World Cup in 2010, 2018 and 2022 have been put under this investigation as well. United States soccer fans will know that the 2022 bidding process controversially led to the 5-million populated country of Qatar to win the bid over the United States. Numerous times since that decision, there have been allegations of perjury and conspiracy to get the Middle-Eastern country the bid.
Part of the issue with Qatar winning the bid was the reasonable amount the US gave to host the World Cup, along with the size of the Qatar’s population and the location of the country in lieu of recent violence and turmoil in the Middle-East.
All of these charges and arrests have created a firestorm of chaos around FIFA and it is surely not going to stop anytime soon. Four of the alleged 14 individuals have already pleaded guilty on the charges against them. Another investigation has been launched to look into the aforementioned conspiracy surrounding the hosting bid process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup.
The last piece that has not been revealed yet is whether FIFA President Sepp Blatter will be arrested and charged as well. Considering Blatter is by far the most powerful man in the world of soccer, his arrest or alleged charges will kick up even more news.
For those of you who do not watch soccer or are not very interested in the sport as a whole, here is a direct translation of what is going on with FIFA right now. Imagine that FIFA is replaced with the NCAA, same amount of power over their sport, same type of rumors and constant conspiracies. Now imagine that one day, American officials arrested 14 of the top executives and business partners of the NCAA in Indianapolis. Then the charges brought against them are that they weighted certain venues and marketing schemes in connection with bribes and fixed games to profit for themselves on top of the ridiculous salaries they already receive. After that info, it is then announced this had been occurring since 1995 and now there is a separate investigation looking into where the Final Four is placed and where the College Football Playoff is hosted. And to finally wrap it all up, there is a great chance that Mark Emerett is also one of these individuals and will have hell-fire reigned down upon him by the justice department as well.
That is the scenario the soccer world is in right now. This involves the entire world and is also including inexplicable amounts of money and power. There is obviously more to this story and we at DSN will keep you up to date as more news comes out.