Myrtle Beach, SC, Orlando, FL June 8, 2015
Asheville, NC Correspondent-The most recent round of Department of Justice investigations may be the first time many Americans ever think about the International Federation of association Football (FIFA). Yet, these serious allegations should be of serious concern to Americans. The business of international soccer affects Americans in three key ways.
First, the crimes were a breach of the free market foundation of American values. Americans may not care much about soccer, but they do care about free and fair markets. The kind of back-room shenanigans pose a threat to the integrity of the bidding process. FIFA executives solicited bribes from American broadcast and marketing companies in exchange for exclusive broadcast rights. If allowed to continue unchecked, such practices would fundamentally alter the landscape of American media by compromising the bidding process that ought form the backbone of the industry.
Second, FIFA’s location committee may have directly cheated Americans out of jobs and money. The World Cup tournament attracts millions of tourists eager to spend money at restaurants, hotels, and other businesses. The construction of stadium facilities represents the kind of blue-collar, manufacturing jobs that have all but disappeared in this country. FIFA’s record of corruption put those jobs and dollars in Qatar and Russia instead.
Third, FIFA’s sponsors include major US corporations. Budweiser, Coca Cola, and others handed briefcases full of cash to FIFA executives. Americans need to know about the actions of these corporations to make informed, ethical consumer decisions. The Department of Justice should be applauded for standing up to this international soccer cartel. This band of crooks has been operating without oversight for too long. Their fleecing of the world will hopefully be brought to an end soon.
Raleigh, NC Correspondent-Last week, international news broke that the U.S. Department of Justice launched a case, based on three-year investigation by the FBI, against illegal activities of fourteen high-ranking officials of FIFA (Fédération de Internationale de Football Association), seven of whom have already been arrested in Switzerland. Apparently, FIFA—an organization founded in 1904 to oversee international soccer tournaments—has long been plagued with corruption, bribery, racketeering, money laundering, vote-rigging and other unethical practices.
The U.S. Department of Justice asserts that sports marketing executives have paid more than 150 million dollars to FIFA executives to secure broadcasting rights and such. Given that soccer is the most popular sport around the world, it is not surprising that sports marketing executives were willing to do everything possible, however unscrupulous, to advance their interests. Moreover, the planned 2018 World Cup in Russia and 2022 World Cup in Qatar (World Cup is the most watched sporting event on the planet) raise questions as to what has been done to secure the tournaments in these two countries.
Why did the U.S. Department of Justice get involved into this scandal? FIFA, an international organization based in Zurich, includes 209 national associations which are members of six regional confederations in Asia, Africa, Europe, Oceania, South America, and North and Central America and the Caribbean. Consequently, the U. S. Department of Justice is investigating FIFA’s allocation of broadcasting rights in Western Hemisphere which falls under the jurisdiction of CONCACAF, the governing organization of FIFA for Northern and Central America and the Caribbean. Since CONCACAF administration office is based in Miami, Florida and many alleged crimes were carried out in the USA and used U.S. banking system, the U.S. Department of Justice has all the powers and reasons to be involved into this investigation. Attorney General Loretta Lynch has disclosed that FIFA illegal practices date back as far as 1991. In light of all these unfortunate developments, FIFA’s President Sepp Blatter who served in this capacity for 17 years has announced his resignation despite being re-elected to the post on May 29, 2015.
However, is it in interests of American people that the Department of Justice is spending considerable resources to investigate FIFA? Soccer has never been as popular sport in the USA as it is in other parts of the world; as such, many Americans do not have strong sentiments regarding FIFA executives’ illegal actions. Still, majority of money with which these actions were taken come from well-known American sponsors such as FOX, McDonalds, Budweiser, Nike, Adidas, Visa, Coca-Cola and others. At the moment, no allegations were made against these sponsors and it is unknown whether any of them were complicit in the wrongdoings of FIFA executives. Consequently, the question of their legal responsibility is not yet investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice. In addition, many analysts assert that no other country but the USA (although Switzerland has also commenced parallel investigation) is capable of investigating and carrying out appropriate measures to counteract rampant corruption in FIFA.
Undoubtedly, FIFA will suffer bad consequences following the investigation by the US authorities. Given that soccer plays such an important role on world’s sports arena, it is highly desirable that the corruption at the highest level of FIFA will be stopped.
Prescott Valley, AZ Correspondent-The Justice Department’s investigation of the FIFA (the Federation International de Football Association) involves both American and South American sports marketing executives accused of paying and agreeing to pay over $150 million in both bribes and kickbacks in exchange for publicity and media rights to international soccer tournaments. Higher ranking executives connected to the scandal include Jeffrey Web and Jack Warner, the official and former governing officers associated with the CONCACAF (The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football). They are charged with racketeering and bribery violations, and search warrants have been issued by the Justice Department for the Confederation’s office in Miami. Others accused include individuals and sports organizations connected with FIFA and affiliates in the United States.
Though the Justice Department’s criminal investigation is relevant in exposing a major world-wide sports scandal, it appears to be yet another investigative sidestep or distraction from more relevant criminal investigations that affect the American people. Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, has said, “The indictment alleges corruption that is rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted both abroad and here in the United States. It spans at least two generations of soccer officials, who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks.”
Rather than rushing into and probably expending millions over the FIFA scandal, the Justice Department should be investigating criminal activities that relate directly to American citizens. The list of crimes against Americans would keep a genuine and concerned Justice Department busy for eons. Just the thought of the infractions of the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Homeland Security, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the State Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, the NSA, the FCC and other bureaucratic bodies, individuals and their affiliated organizations (the Clinton Foundation) is enough to create continual outrage by concerned Americans. The Justice Department overreaches that have infringed upon the rights and freedoms of Americans should lead to nonstop investigations—investigations that should include the Justice Department itself.
Justice Department resources need to be extended to stop criminal activities towards Americans rather than for their own special interests and targeted individuals, other agencies and scandals outside of America. Picking and choosing criminal investigation projects that do not directly relate to the American people are a waste of time, effort and funds. The department’s selective investigations breed their own sense of corruption, manipulation and control. Their endless power grabs only serve to breed contempt for ordinary, everyday citizens, which lead to unrest, confusion and mistrust by Americans of a runaway federal government and its chief law enforcement body.