FIFA in corruption row

AFP | DECCAN CHRONICLE
Published May 28, 2015, 8:10 am IST
Updated Mar 29, 2019, 1:43 am IST
Swiss arrest 7 top officials; US attorney alleges bribery in bidding for 2010 World Cup
A police vehicle is parked outside hotel Baur au Lac in Zurich on Wednesday morning. The Swiss Federal Office of Justice arrested seven football officials at the request of US authorities ahead of the Fifa congress in Zurich. 	(Photo:  AP)
 A police vehicle is parked outside hotel Baur au Lac in Zurich on Wednesday morning. The Swiss Federal Office of Justice arrested seven football officials at the request of US authorities ahead of the Fifa congress in Zurich. (Photo: AP)

New York: Corrupt officials at world football’s governing body Fifa took bribes during the process that awarded the 2010 World Cup to South Africa, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch alleged on Wednesday.

“Around 2004, bidding began for the opportunity to host the 2010 World Cup, which was ultimately awarded to South Africa, the first time the tournament would be held on the African continent,” Lynch told a news conference.

 

“But even for this historic event, Fifa executives and others corrupted the process by using bribes to influence the hosting decision.”

Lynch would not comment on the upcoming 2018 and 2022 World Cups, which are to be held in Russia and Qatar, but said that Swiss authorities are conducting a separate investigation into how these tournaments were awarded.The officials arrested have corrupted the international game, Lynch said.

“They corrupted the business of worldwide soccer to serve their interests and to enrich themselves,” she said.

 

“This Department of Justice is determined to end these practices to root out corruption and bring wrongdoers to justice.”

She spoke after Swiss authorities acting on the US indictments detained several Fifa leaders in a dawn raid in Zurich as part of a corruption probe that has rocked the sport’s governing body.The South African Football Association refused to comment on the US investigation.

“Those are just allegations. No one is being investigated here,” spokesman Dominic Chimhavi said. Earlier, US officials had revealed an indictment alleging that 14 senior soccer officials and marketing executives had engaged in a $151 million 24-year bribery scheme surrounding the promotion of world tournaments.

 

Arrested officials oppose extradition

Six of the seven top Fifa officials arrested on Wednesday in Zurich as part of a twin corruption probe are opposing their extradition to the United States, the Swiss justice ministry said. It said they had all been questioned by police following their shock dawn arrests in a Zurich hotel.

“For those individuals who are contesting extradition, the (justice ministry) will now ask the US to submit formal extradition requests within the 40-day period provided for in the bilateral extradition treaty,” a statement said.   

 

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