BBC: Swiss prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation against Sepp Blatter, the head of football's world governing body Fifa. Telegraph: Criminal proceedings have been opened against him by the Swiss attorney general on two issues: a TV rights deal that FIFA signed with Jack Warner's Caribbean Football Union and an alleged "disloyal payment" of two million Swiss francs made in 2011 to UEFA president Michel Platini. Guardian: Office of the Fifa president has been searched and data seized. LA Times: The new investigation targeting Blatter involves “suspicion of criminal mismanagement as well as -- alternatively -- on suspicion of misappropriation,” according to Swiss Atty. Gen. Michael Lauber.
FIFA officials, in Zurich for their annual meeting, were arrested this morning by Swiss authorities. They will be extradited to the United States to face charges of wire fraud, racketeering, and money laundering.
"On Sunday, Joseph S Blatter attended a ceremony on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius to celebrate the renaming of the country's FA headquarters in his honour. The Fifa president would perhaps say it was a fitting tribute, given his promotion of African football and the amount of "development" money poured into the continent over recent decades. His critics would say it was typical of his egomania and note the importance of African votes in keeping him atop world football for 15 years." [more inside]
"The World's most popular game is also its most corrupt, with investigations into match fixing ongoing in more than 25 countries. Here's a mere sampling of events since the beginning of last year: Operation Last Bet rocked the Italian Football Federation, with 22 clubs and 52 players awaiting trial for fixing matches; the Zimbabwe Football Association banned 80 players from its national-team selection due to similar accusations; Lu Jun, the first Chinese referee of a World Cup match, was sentenced to five and a half years in prison for taking more than $128,000 in bribes to fix outcomes in the Chinese Super League; prosecutors charged 57 people with match fixing in the South Korean K-League, four of whom later died in suspected suicides; the team director of second-division Hungarian club REAC Budapest jumped off a building after six of his players were arrested for fixing games; and in an under-21 friendly, Turkmenistan reportedly beat Maldives 3-2 in a "ghost match" -- neither country knew about the contest because it never actually happened, yet bookmakers still took action and fixers still profited." [All the world is staged: Bribed players, fake games. Criminal syndicates can fix any match, anywhere.]
Despite evidence of extensive misconduct, English football coach Harry Redknapp remains beloved in the hearts and minds of football fans.
Brian Phillips of The Run of Play (previously) examines FIFA's history of corruption from the birth of sports sponsorship deals to a serious of mysterious deaths in South Africa before the 2010 World Cup and speculates about the future of embattled FIFA President Sepp Blatter. [more inside]
The most powerful presidential position in the world is having its election soon, and the incumbent has just been brought up before an ethics committee for investigation. The USA's best attempt at a candidate was shut out and couldn't even be nominated. The person who is supposed to be representing the US region has been found guilty of corruption several times. Could this result in a historic revote for the 2022 World Cup location? [more inside]