At least six top-ranking officials from soccer’s governing body have been taken into police custody in Switzerland. They are suspected of having accepted millions of dollars in bribes over a twenty-year period.
Several high-ranking FIFA officials were arrested early Wednesday by the authorities in Zurich, Switzerland and will be extradited to the United States on suspicion of racketeering, money laundering and wire fraud.
According to a New York Times report, the corruption allegations span at least two decades of misconduct. At least six officials were apprehended during the Swiss operation. The Times wrote they all came from FIFA’s powerful executive committee, and that the arrests were quiet and without incident.
The report quoted local law enforcement as saying that the charges include accepting bribes for things like World Cup bids and broadcasting deals.
Eduardo Li, president of the Costa Rican soccer federation, was among those detained the New York Times said. The newspaper added that several FIFA officials who were not in Zurich were also set to be indicted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.
The officials are in Zurich for a FIFA conference which will decide if Sepp Blatter will continue his seventeen-year reign as the head of the international soccer organization or if his challenger Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan, currently vice president of FIFA.
es/jil (AP, dpa, Reuters)