FIFA was plunged into crisis on Wednesday morning after Swiss authorities made early-morning arrests of six football officials.
Officers carried out a dawn raid on the five star Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich and arrested a number of officials on corruption charges, including FIFA vice-president Jeffrey Webb from the Cayman Islands, according to sources close to the world governing body.
Outside the Baur au Lac hotel pic.twitter.com/E6UDUtd8ZN— Martyn Ziegler (@martynziegler) May 27, 2015
It is understood that FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who is standing for re-election on Friday, is not among those arrested.
The Swiss Federal Office of Justice said six officials have been detained pending extradition to the USA on suspicion of receiving bribes totalling 100 million US dollars.
As many as 15 officials may be under investigation worldwide, according to sources.
Doorman at Baur au Lac hotel - not the unhappiest man in Zurich currently but in the top 100 pic.twitter.com/94YVfFvGVd— Martyn Ziegler (@martynziegler) May 27, 2015
A statement from the Swiss Federal Office of Justice said: “The six soccer functionaries were arrested today in Zurich by the Zurich Cantonal Police . The FOJ’s arrest warrants were issued further to a request by the US authorities.
“The US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York is investigating these individuals on suspicion of the acceptance of bribes and kick-backs between the early 1990s and the present day.
Inside the Baur au Lac hotel where a number of Fifa officials have been arrested this morning pic.twitter.com/MbeoR517CL— Martyn Ziegler (@martynziegler) May 27, 2015
“The bribery suspects – representatives of sports media and sports promotion firms – are alleged to have been involved in schemes to make payments to the soccer functionaries – delegates of FIFA and other functionaries of FIFA sub-organisations – totalling more than USD 100 million. In return, it is believed that they received media, marketing, and sponsorship rights in connection with soccer tournaments in Latin America.
“According to the US request, these crimes were agreed and prepared in the US, and payments were carried out via US banks.”