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New Wave of Arrests in FIFA Scandal

The next domino in the FIFA corruption scandal has fallen. The New York Times has reported that Swiss authorities began another series of pre-dawn arrests early Thursday morning with more than a dozen people expected to be charged. The report states that at least some of the arrests took place at the same hotel as the previous pre-dawn arrests back in May.

The police were targeting current and former members of FIFA, as the leaders in the organization were gathered in Zurich. Though it’s unclear who has been arrested at this point, law enforcement officials did say the list did not include current suspended FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

The arrests come at the same time that members of the FIFA executive committee were meeting in Zurich to approve reform measures within FIFA, as they are under pressure not just from various investigators but from big sponsors as well.

This is just the latest domino to fall in the FIFA corruption scandal. When the first wave of arrests were announced in May, we knew there were more pieces to the puzzle coming and the same is true today.

When the original wave of arrests came and FIFA was finally put under scrutiny, FIFA announced that they would be conducting internal investigations that would lead to reforms within the organization. The immediate effect of that was minimal.

FIFA held their presidential election where Blatter was elected for a fifth term. In late May, Blatter did announce he would step down as president, but that he would remain in office until his successor was elected, which wouldn’t be until February. However, by late June there were already reports that Blatter would not step down in February.

In October, Blatter was finally suspended for 90 days following an investigation into payments he made to Michel Platini, the head of UEFA. During his suspension Blatter is not allowed to represent FIFA in any capacity.

Since the initial story broke we’ve seen a lot of talk, but very little action. This wasn’t necessarily a surprise within the soccer community. After all, money talks and as long as FIFA was rolling in the money, they wouldn’t feel the need make any changes. While FIFA kept speaking and promising reforms, they didn’t seem to take any action until major sponsors such as Coca-Cola, Budweiser, Visa and McDonalds spoke up and threatened to end their sponsorships.

The corruption in FIFA runs so deep that even the highest of reforms wouldn’t be able to take place until FIFA rids itself of several bad apples. The new wave of arrests is a positive step in trying to rid FIFA of corruption but at the end of the day this is just the latest domino to fall, and there are still several more dominos that need to fall before anything substantial can happen.

Update:

Names are starting to come out as to who was arrested and according to the New York Times, the president’s of both CONMEBOL and CONCACAF have been arrested.

 

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