Sports

Crime and Corruption

By KAPIL JAIN, senior

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“These allegations cast a dark shadow on the honesty and integrity of this beloved sport.”

Soccer unites the globe and places the passion, fervor, and skill of eager enthusiasts on one battlefield. It is the most popular sport in the world, with 240 million players and millions of more followers and fans. However, it is scarred by the ugly investigation into the FIFA Corruption Scandal, which began in May 2015 when U.S. authorities raided a luxury hotel in Zurich and arrested seven FIFA executives. Immediately, the U.S. justice department indicted fourteen defendants who were accused of attempting to receive bribes from marketing firms in exchange for exclusive television contracts.  Although FIFA’s former president Sepp Blatter, who took his position in 1998, always denied these allegations of corruption, he himself was also accused of participating in criminal acts by Swiss prosecutors. Since FIFA is responsible for running soccer around the world, its decision to withhold its own investigation on corruption was baffling. These allegations cast a dark shadow on the honesty and integrity on this beloved sport.

The FBI’s investigation has continued throughout the past few years. The Department of Justice’s indictment, which revolves around the use of U.S. banks to transfer money, claims that the corruption was planned in the U.S. Blatter’s colleagues were indicted while Blatter was attacked by Swiss prosecutors for malfeasance and misdemeanor. In addition, according to Swiss prosecutors, Blatter was suspected of “criminal mismanagement and of money laundering” over a television rights deal he signed with Time Warner in 2005 and the disloyal payment of two millions Swiss francs to Platini. Blatter’s innocence was further doubted when a South African newspaper obtained an email, which showed that Blatter secured the 2010 World Cup in South Africa for a $10 million bribe with South African President Jacob Zuma. Chuck Blazer, a key figure in this investigation, revealed that he and others agreed to accept bribes in exchange for allowing South Africa to host 2010 World Cup, and that one of his conspirators received a bribe for Morocco to host the 1998 tournament. After confessing his wrongdoings, Chuck Blazer was rightly banned from all football-related activity for life. There was more discord in international soccer association when the FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke stepped down from his position amidst allegations of being implicated in a ticketing scandal. A total of 18 individuals and two corporations were indicted.

After years of overlooked corruption scandals enshrouding this popular sport and FIFA, justice is finally being served, undoing the blemishes on soccer’s name. Although the FIFA ethic committee doled out punishments to the wrongdoers by suspending Blatter, Valcke, and Platini for 90 days, the corruption allegations have marred FIFA’s reputation. Not only does FIFA need a respectable and honest leader, but soccer also needs a new voice. Soccer needs a person who is willing to uphold the integrity of the game and invite competition from different countries around the world.

 

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Shorter Version (not using):

The ugly investigation into the FIFA Corruption Scandal began when U.S. authorities raided a luxury hotel in Zurich and arrested seven FIFA executives in May. The U.S. justice department immediately indicted fourteen defendants, accused of attempting to receive bribes from marketing firms in exchange for exclusive television contracts.  Although FIFA’s ex-president, Sepp Blatter, always denied allegations of corruption, he himself was accused of participating in this criminal act by Swiss prosecutors. Since FIFA is responsible for running world football, its decision not to release its own investigation on corruption was baffling. The World Cup is one of the most popular and watched sporting events in the world; these allegations bring into question the honesty and integrity of the game.

The FBI’s investigation has continued throughout the past few years, and the Department of Justice’s indictment states that the corruption scandal was planned in the U.S. Key to the investigation is the use of U.S. banks to transfer money. Along with Blatter’s colleagues’ indictments by the U.S., Blatter himself was attacked by Swiss prosecutors for criminal mismanagement. There is evidence against Blatter; a South African newspaper obtained an email showing that Blatter agreed to help the South African president at that time secure the 2010 World Cup in South Africa for a 10 million dollar bribe. A key figure in this investigation is Charles Blazer, who revealed that he and others agreed to accept bribes connected to the selection of South Africa as the host of 2010 World Cup and the selection of Morocco to host the 1998 tournament.

With nearly 240 million playing soccer, the most popular sport in the world, justice is being served as the corruption scandals that have surrounded this sport for the past few years are finally being addressed. This sport continues to gain attention in the U.S., but the corruption allegations surrounding the sport have marred its reputation and FIFA’s reputation. In fact, Sepp Blatter hastily resigned nearly a day after he defended FIFA. Not only does FIFA need a respectable and honest leader, but soccer also needs a new voice. Soccer needs a person who is willing to uphold the integrity of the game and invite competition from different countries around the world.

Featured image from http://www.thefederalistpapers.org

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