May 27, 2015

Henchmen arrested, but the Joker is still at large: 10 FIFA officials arrested in Switzerland for extradition to the U.S. for a whole host of corruption charges. Sepp Blatter is up for re-election on Friday, but with only one challenger and such rampant corruption, it's a wonder whether or not this will affect his chances.

posted by dfleming to soccer at 04:46 AM - 12 comments

Considering the corruption likely goes much further, and that Blatter is the king of the stuffed brown paper bag, I'm not sure this will change the election. Note that all of the men arrested or charged are Western Hemisphere nationals, even though there were widespread rumors of deals with plenty of FIFA/national org officials in many other geographies.

On the plus, side the Swiss have also opened a criminal investigation and today seized lots of material from the FIFA HQ offices which are, after all, in Switzerland. And since Blatter is a Swiss national, I don't think the Swiss police would've arrested him on an American extradition warrant, but one can hope their own charges will include his lying, sleazy ass.

posted by billsaysthis at 10:49 AM on May 27

I see this as totally positive: either the unlikely happens and Blatter is turfed out or this results in humanity finally colonizing the moon or Mars so as to avoid Earthly laws literally as well as figuratively.

posted by yerfatma at 10:53 AM on May 27

Also, from the NY Times comments:

Aslak Oslo, Norway 7 hours ago

On behalf of the rest of the world I can safely say that we're absolutely delighted that you're using your power for good. If Bush had invaded FIFA instead of Iraq he'd have a street named after him in every European capital.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 01:14 PM on May 27

Strolling down Bushstrasse

posted by beaverboard at 01:34 PM on May 27

The ongoing brilliance of Rick Santorum: announces today that he's running for the top job but picks the wrong organization.

posted by beaverboard at 01:42 PM on May 27

all of the men arrested or charged are Western Hemisphere nationals

The key here is that the charges are all based on US banking regulations. The Western Hemisphere guys can be shown to have run some of their ill-gotten gains through US banks, and thus to have violated US law. If any of the rest of them can be shown to have used US banks, charges might be issued there as well.

The big question is whether or not any of the accused will ever come to trial in the US. Right now they are in Switzerland. Will the Swiss pull their passports and keep them there? If they contest extradition to the US, the procedure could take years. Will the Swiss allow them to travel? If so, they might head for one of many countries with no treaty of extradition with the US. Freezing, and eventually seizing their assets in the US might or might not work, since they probably have something of an emergency stash somewhere.

All in all, this might just be the impetus for FIFA reform, but I will not hold my breath. Also, keep an eye on the officiating when the US Women's team plays at the upcoming tournament. There could be some really interesting calls.

posted by Howard_T at 01:56 PM on May 27

keep an eye on the officiating when the US Women's team plays at the upcoming tournament. There could be some really interesting calls.

Nah, FIFA doesn't care about the game on the field enough to bother with that. No money in it.

posted by yerfatma at 03:09 PM on May 27

keep an eye on the officiating when the US Women's team plays at the upcoming tournament. There could be some really interesting calls.

Ouch! That opened a nearly healed wound.

posted by cixelsyd at 03:46 PM on May 27

Also, keep an eye on the officiating when the US Women's team plays at the upcoming tournament. There could be some really interesting calls.

Somewhere a fan of Canada's women's team is enjoying that possibility.

posted by rcade at 04:09 PM on May 27

The arrests include CONMEBOL chiefs from various countries. If UEFA and CONMEBOL did actually want to change things, now is the time.

Threatening a possible World Cup without South America and Europe is pretty good leverage.

posted by owlhouse at 12:52 AM on May 28

Europe won't be unified on this--Putin is all in for Blatter, denouncing US actions as interventionist, and while Platini called for Blatter's resignation the French FA chief is still voting for Blatter because he "doesn't know" Prince Ali.

Curiously, I've not read that Jeffrey Webb has been removed from his CONCACAF presidency...

posted by billsaysthis at 10:45 AM on May 28

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