Among the other key lines from the US Department of Justice’s statement on the charging of 14 defendants with “racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies, among other offences, in connection with the defendants’ participation in a 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer”:
- The guilty pleas of four individual defendants and two corporate defendants were unsealed today – including that of Chuck Blazer.
- Besides football executives, the list includes “US and South American sports marketing executives who are alleged to have systematically paid and agreed to pay well over $150 million in bribes and kickbacks to obtain lucrative media and marketing rights to international soccer tournaments.”
US attorney general Loretta Lynch added that the pattern of alleged corruption had “profoundly harmed a multitude of victims, from the youth leagues and developing countries that should benefit from the revenue generated by the commercial rights these organisations hold, to the fans at home and throughout the world whose support for the game makes those rights valuable. Today’s action makes clear that this Department of Justice intends to end any such corrupt practices, to root out misconduct, and to bring wrongdoers to justice – and we look forward to continuing to work with other countries in this effort.”
FBI Director James Comey said: “As charged in the indictment, the defendants fostered a culture of corruption and greed that created an uneven playing field for the biggest sport in the world. Undisclosed and illegal payments, kickbacks, and bribes became a way of doing business at Fifa. I want to commend the investigators and prosecutors around the world who have pursued this case so diligently, for so many years.”