PtG Article 03.12.2015

FIFA once again hit by arrests

Swiss authorities this morning arrested another two FIFA officials in Zürich on suspicion of accepting million-dollar bribes.

Two FIFA vice presidents were arrested this morning when Swiss authorities entered the Swiss hotel Baur au Lac in Zürich before today’s FIFA executive committee meeting.

The continental football confederations CONCACAF and CONMEBOL are apparently the ones hit hardest in this latest raid into FIFA by authorities. The two officials who have been arrested this morning are CONCACAF president and FIFA vice-president Alfredo Hewit and FIFA vice president Juan Àngel Napout, president of CONMEBOL.

According to the official press release from the Swiss Federal Office of Justice (FOJ), the two arrested officials are suspected of having accepted money in return for selling marketing rights for football tournaments in Latin America and for World Cup qualifying matches. The arrested officials have been placed in custody pending extradition.

An additional 14 FIFA officials were charged, said the U.S. Attorney's Office in a press release detailing the names and charges of the implicated. A superseding indictment includes 92 counts of alleged criminal behavior.

Earlier this week, five of FIFA’s top sponsors signed an open letter calling for “independent oversight” in the reform process of the football governing body.

“…we are calling on you to embrace change, implement reforms, endorse a long-term independent oversight approach and initiate the cultural change because we all want to see football thrive,” said the letter signed by AB InBev, adidas, The Coca-Cola Company, McDonald’s and Visa.

The world governing body of football further feels the current crisis financially, it seems. An expected €94 million loss this financial year has been forecasted in the run up to this week’s ex-co meeting. The deficits are due to loss of sponsorship deals and legal costs, writes The Guardian.

In a statement issued on the arrests, FIFA says that it will “continue to cooperate fully with the U.S. investigation” and that they have no further comment. The planned FIFA executive committee meeting today will go on as planned.

Apart from reform discussions, the ex-co is reportedly also going to discuss expanding the FIFA World Cup to comprise of 40 teams instead of the current 32 in a move to please those federations who find UEFA to have too many seats, writes The Guardian.

The press briefing is live streamed and can be followed on FIFA’s website.

Updated on 4. December 2015

More information

  • Read the entire indictment from the U.S. Attorney's Office