MercoPress, en Español

Montevideo, September 24th 2018 - 04:06 UTC

“Football is a game, but is also a massive business” and people want it to operate with integrity

Wednesday, June 10th 2015 - 06:44 UTC
Full article 27 comments
“The United States … we want to make sure that a sport that’s gaining popularity is conducted in an upright manner” said President Obama “The United States … we want to make sure that a sport that’s gaining popularity is conducted in an upright manner” said President Obama
US indictments rocked the soccer world and ultimately pushed FIFA’s chief, Sepp Blatter, to resign after he initially defied calls to leave. US indictments rocked the soccer world and ultimately pushed FIFA’s chief, Sepp Blatter, to resign after he initially defied calls to leave.

President Barack Obama weighed in on the deepening corruption scandal involving world soccer's governing body, saying it was essential that the sport's integrity be ensured.

 U.S. prosecutors last month unveiled indictments that painted a picture of endemic corruption and bribery among some officials at FIFA, the Swiss-based organization that runs soccer tournaments around the world. That includes the quadrennial World Cup, by many accounts the most-watched sporting event in the world.

Speaking at a news conference in Germany, where he attended a meeting of the Group of Seven industrialized nations, Obama offered his first public comments on the ongoing investigation and the problems afflicting FIFA.

People in Europe and elsewhere want FIFA to operate with “integrity, transparency and accountability,” Obama said in response to a reporter’s question. It’s important, he said, “to keep in mind that although football, soccer ... is a game, but it's also a massive business, a source of incredible national pride and people want to make sure that it operates with integrity.”

“The United States … we want to make sure that a sport that’s gaining popularity is conducted in an upright manner,” he said. The indictments unsealed on May 27 in New York targeted 14 soccer executives and sport marketing officials, and revealed guilty pleas by four other executives.

The charges rocked the soccer world and ultimately pushed FIFA’s chief, Sepp Blatter, to resign after he initially defied calls to leave. Blatter has not been charged. His resignation likely won't take effect until at least December, the earliest date for a new FIFA election, according to Domenico Scala, the independent chairman of FIFA's audit and compliance committee.

The indictments also detailed the process for the awarding of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

To gain the rights to host the tournament, the indictments allege, South Africa's soccer federation allegedly funneled $10 million in bribes to Jack Warner, the former head of the regional soccer organization for North and Central America and the Caribbean. Warner was arrested at a hotel in Switzerland and released on bail. He has denied the charges.

The news has stoked speculation that the FIFA decisions awarding the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar, respectively, could also be reviewed.

Swiss prosecutors have also said they were investigating the 2018 and 2022 bids. The decision on Qatar, a tiny desert country with no domestic tradition of soccer, was particularly criticized by soccer officials in Western countries.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules
  • Brasileiro

    The Anglo-Saxons want to dominate FIFA. We can not let that happen. We need to block any assault on Russia's interests.
    Maybe we need to establish another control institution of football without the presence of North America and its allies.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdcRbaXH2kA

    Jun 10th, 2015 - 09:50 am 0
  • Chicureo

    Yes, wonderful idea!

    Let's kick out the Americans, Canadians, Italy, Spain, Holland, Belgium, the UK, France, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Ireland, Croatia, Portugal, and any other civilized countries....

    What an idiot...

    Jun 10th, 2015 - 11:02 am 0
  • Conqueror

    @1. Bit of jealousy? UEFA teams have won the Cup 11 times. CONMEBOL teams only 9!

    Jun 10th, 2015 - 12:09 pm 0
Read all comments

Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!