Bribery Inquiry Drawing Closer to FIFA’s President, Sepp Blatter

Photo+Courtesy+of+NY+Times

Photo Courtesy of NY Times

Sepp Blatter, who led world soccer’s governing body for 17 years as FIFA’s President and who was regarded as one of the most powerful people in global sports, announced Tuesday, June 2nd that he would resign his position after being accused of transfering $10 million in bank transactions that are central elements of the bribery scandal engulfing international soccer, stated nytimes.com.

He made his announcement in Zurich as law enforcement officials in the United States confirmed that he was a focus of a federal corruption investigation. But FIFA is mired in a massive corruption scandal, with the U.S. Justice Department charging 14 people, including nine FIFA officials, in a 47-count indictment last week. “I’m not able to comment further on Mr. Blatter’s status,” US Attorney General Loretta Lynch told reporters at the time, stated cnn.com.

“For years, we have worked hard to put in place administrative reforms, but it is plain to me that while these must continue, they are not enough,” Mr. Blatter said. “We need deep-rooted structural change.”

As for potential candidates to replace Mr. Blatter, it appears likely that Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan, who lost to Mr. Blatter in last Friday’s vote, will stand again in the next election, reported nytimes.com. Beyond that, Michel Platini, head of European soccer’s governing body, has long been seen as a potential successor to Mr. Blatter.

The indictment “is the beginning of our work, not the end” of an effort to rid global soccer of corruption, said Kelly Currie, acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

After the news conference, Chris Eaton, former FIFA head of security, said that U.S. officials have done “something that no other police organization or other region has done so far on FIFA.”

The U.S. Justice Department unsealed a 47-count indictment in federal court in Brooklyn that detailed charges against 14 people accused of racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy, reported cnn.com.