FIFA President Re-Elected Amidst US Charges

Venkata Kondubhatla

The US has charged 14 top FIFA officials on March 27 and indicted them with charges that included bribing, kickbacks, money laundering, and so on. This is the first time in the history of the institution that such a massive charge has been filed against it.

Even so, the FIFA re-elected its present leader, Sepp Blatter, as its president one more time. This is the fifth time he won the elections and stood as president. Everything went on normal, as if nothing had happened. He is not indicted or attached to any wrongdoing directly, but he was the president when fraud took place, and he ought to take the overall responsibility.

“Many people hold me ultimately responsible for the deeds and reputation of the global football community. We or I cannot monitor everyone all of the time,” he said.

FIFA’s head office is in Zurich, Switzerland. Many countries are the members in the organization, including the US, and many of those countries are far more powerful in the sport than the US. Then, why is that the US is leading the charge? Why is that other countries were not able to break the scandal? Why is that the American FBI is investigating the case?

One reason for the US lead is that the transactions happened in the American banks and funds of about 150 millions dollars have been involved in the fraud. The manipulation clearly violated the US laws. Are there any other reasons? There are no specific indications.

But, there are definitely some accusations laid on the US. The country has been contesting for a while to organize a world cup on its ground. Bill Clinton was among many who supported the cause. However, the next two world cups have been already fixed, and the charges brought up by the US include the corruption involved in nominating countries Russia and Qatar, where the world cup is going to be held in 2018 and 2022, respectively.

Some even contend that Russia, being the next country to organize the world cup, is one of the reasons. But, the investigation has started initially with tax cheating and slowly became related to FIFA. So, FBI had not directly pounced on FIFA.

Beginning December 2011, the FBI started asking questions about the FIFA and its dealings. The case became interesting and finally resulted in an uncovering of a huge fraud. But, is this really big in the rest of the soccer world? If so, how is it going to affect the game?

Soccer is a popular game and in many countries it is the national game. The sport has improved over the years and slowly started influencing countries like China.  The recent charges are definitely news and people are going to talk about it, but certainly not going to affect the morale of the game, many believe.

With the recent elections, Blatter is back in the office and in a way withstood the scandal and now the hope is that he and the organization makes some changes that results in the reduction of corruption.

The next step for the US is the trials and that requires extraditions of the officers, as the trials are going to happen in the US courts. The case may take years.

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