SOCCER ORGANIZATION COMMITTING A “WORLD CUP OF FRAUD”?: That’s what the IRS head of criminal investigation claims, as the U.S. initiates a 47-count indictment in federal court charging 14 FIFA officials with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering. The charges stem from an alleged $150 million in bribes received by FIFA officials, as well as accepting kickbacks in return for granting lucrative media and marketing rights.
The most serious are the racketeering charges, which allege that the officials turned soccer “into a criminal enterprise,” according to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who spoke to reporters in New York. A conviction could command a sentence of up to 20 years.
“The idea of being shocked about bribery and racketeering at FIFA is like being shocked about jumping into a pool and finding yourself wet,” said Dave Zirin, sports editor at The Nation magazine.
“What makes this particularly different is the fact that this time it looks like the charges have real teeth. I mean, coming from the U.S. Department of Justice, that’s a first. That’s never happened before,” he said.
Well, I don’t know much about soccer, but ouch.