By Martin Rogers and Kim Hjelmgaard / USA Today
U.S. prosecutors allege that “two generations of soccer officials” used partnerships with sports marketing executives to solicit $150 million in bribes and kickbacks in exchange for, among other things, their support for the sites of FIFA World Cup events, from qualifiers to the 2010 World Cup.
A 47-count indictment was unsealed in Brooklyn, charging 14 defendants — nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives — with racketeering, wire fraud, money laundering and bribery, among other offenses, in connection with a near quarter-century scheme to enrich themselves through their management of the sport.
With soccer officials from all over the world congregating in Zurich this week to attend the annual FIFA Congress, Swiss authorities arrested seven suspects charged in the indictment. Federal investigators were also conducting a search at CONCACAF headquarters in Miami.
FIFA is world soccer’s governing body; CONCACAF is a regional confederation that encompasses North and Central America and the Caribbean.