Nine Fifa officials stand accused of breeding decades of “rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted” corruption within the scandal-hit world football organisation, the US justice department said.
The Fifa officials, including vice-president Jeffrey Webb and former vice-president Jack Warner, and five others have been charged with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies in connection with an alleged “24-year scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer”.
Jeffrey Webb, vice-president, is among those charged.
The defendants also include US and South American sports marketing executives who the department said “are alleged to have systematically paid and agreed to pay well over 150 million US dollars in bribes and kickbacks to obtain lucrative media and marketing rights to international soccer tournaments”.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch 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.
Former VP Jack Warner is also accused..
“And it has profoundly harmed a multitude of victims, from the youth leagues and developing countries that should benefit from the revenue generated by the commercial rights these organisations hold, to the fans at home and throughout the world whose support for the game makes those rights valuable.
“Today’s action makes clear that this Department of Justice intends to end any such corrupt practices, to root out misconduct, and to bring wrongdoers to justice – and we look forward to continuing to work with other countries in this effort.”
It comes as Swiss authorities announced a separate investigation in to mismanagement and money laundering surrounding the allocation of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.