It has already been a very busy day in the world of International Football with all of the headlines coming off of the field. By now, you are likely aware about the arrests of several FIFA executives by Swiss authorities as the organization prepares for their next Presidential election on Friday. While the raid was carried out by the Swiss, the charges were filed by the United States Justice Department. You can read more about that story here.
Now, the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland has opened up a criminal case against “persons unknown” on the suspension of “criminal mismanagement and of money laundering in connection with the allocation of the 2018 and 2022 Football World Cups” according to a document released from the Swiss Attorney General’s Office.
That document stated that the Attorney General’s office had “seized data and documents stored in IT systems at FIFA Headquarters as part of a ‘collection of evidence on cooperative basis’”. The report goes on to say that any files seized today will serve in the proceedings taking place in Switzerland as well as overseas.
FIFA held a press conference from their headquarters in which Director of Communications Walter de Gregorio responded to the reports from the past few hours. He said that “FIFA initiated the process” when they turned over documents to Swiss authorities adding that FIFA “is the damaged party.”
FIFA had apparently filed criminal charges with the Attorney General of Switzerland’s office back in November of 2014. This was in response to the Garcia Report, a report commissioned by FIFA looking into the allegations of corruption in football. The report will eventually be published according to De Gregorio but only after all the open cases have been finished.
De Gregorio emphatically mentioned that neither the general secretary or FIFA president Sepp Blatter are involved in the criminal proceedings. He was asked point blank from a reporter from Sky Sports News if he could confirm how many members of the Executive Committee were arrested and whether or not there would be a revote for the next two World Cup. De Gregorio said “the World Cups in 2018 and 2022 will take place in Russia and Qatar.”
As of now, there are no intentions to postpone the upcoming FIFA Congress or Presidential election according to de Gregorio.
A very interesting statement from De Gregorio as he repeated several times “this is good for FIFA.” This is very good for FIFA long-term, the weeding out of corruption can only make the organization better in the eye of the fans. For right now, this could not be any worse for the organization as they prepare for the beginning of the Under-20 World Cup this weekend in New Zealand and the Women’s World Cup in Canada next month.
More news coming out this morning, a search warrant was executed at the headquarters of the CONCACAF Federation in Miami according to US officials. The information surrounding this search warrant is very minimal at this time but we will update with more notes as they become available.