The only surprise about the arrest of seven FIFA officials in a Swiss hotel in the early morning of May 27 is that it happened at all. Most people assumed these pampered men in expensive suits, governing the world’s soccer federation, were beyond the reach of the law. Whatever rumours flew or reports were made on bribes, kickbacks, vote-rigging, and other dodgy practices, FIFA president Joseph “Sepp” Blatter and his colleagues and associates always seemed to emerge without a scratch.
So far, 14 men, including nine current or former FIFA executives (but not Mr Blatter), have been charged with a range of fraud and corruption offences in the United States, where prosecutors accuse them, among other things, of pocketing US$150 million (S$202 million) in bribes and kickbacks. And Swiss federal prosecutors are looking into shady deals behind the decisions to award the World Cup competitions in 2018 and 2022 to Russia and Qatar, respectively.
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