The demise of FIFA’s empire


Suspended FIFA president, Sepp Blatter
Suspended FIFA president, Sepp Blatter

The FIFA empire has been slowly crumbling since last May following a string of allegations, investigations and scandals.

The governing body’s former president Sepp Baltter was handed an eight year ban- reduced to six this week – from all football activities in December, just over a year after Michael Garcia’s initial investigation.

Other bans have been given to Jerome Valcke, who served as FIFA’s secretary general, and former UEFA president Michel Platini, who was also set to run for FIFA president until he was banned for receiving a ‘disloyal payment’ from Blatter.

The timeline of events began in September 2014, with Garcia’s 430-page report into corruption allegations, continuing through Baltter’s resignation and culminating in his ban.

There has also been an ever-present backdrop of US and Swiss investigations into the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, as well as widespread criticism from many in the world of football.

Here’s some of the key quotes as the biggest sporting scandal in history unfolded.

LORETTA LYNCH

US Attorney General

“Earlier today, Swiss authorities in Zurich arrested seven of the defendants charged in this indictment, including the current president of CONCACAF (Jeffrey Webb). We are also in the process of seeking the apprehension of additional defendants. All of these defendants abused the US financial system and violated US law and we intend to hold them accountable. Going forward, we welcome the opportunity to work with our partners around the world to bring additional co-conspirators and other corrupt individuals to justice.

“The most serious charges in the indictment now are the racketeering charges and those are the charges that these defendants took the soccer enterprise and turned it into a criminal enterprise. The maximum sentence for that is a 20-year jail sentence. Of course, every defendant’s sentence depends on a range of individual factors.”

MICHEL PLATINI

Former FIFA President

“I said you have to leave, he was sensitive on that. I say we are friends, it is difficult sometimes to be friends, but we are friends after.”

SEPP BLATTER

Former FIFA President

“Actions of individuals, if proven, bring shame and humiliation and demand action and change from us all. We cannot allow the reputation of football and FIFA to be dragged through the mud any longer. It has to stop here and now. I know many people hold me ultimately responsible for the actions and reputation of the global football community. Whether it is a decision for the hosting of a World Cup or a corruption scandal.”

SEPP BLATTER

Former FIFA President

“I told you all at the beginning when we started working for this election – I like you, I like my job and I like to be with you. I’m not perfect. Nobody is perfect, but we will do a good job together, I’m sure. So I thank you so much, I thank you for the trust and confidence. Together we go. Let’s go FIFA. Let’s go FIFA. Thank you so much.”

JEROME VALCKE

Former Secretary General, FIFA

  1. Can you guarantee that the World Cups (in 2018 and 2022) will be played in Russia and Qatar or is it too early to tell?

“Yes, today, if you ask me the question, yes the World Cup will be played in Russia and Qatar. With all the information we have, yes the World Cup will be played in Russia in 2018 and in Qatar in 2022.”

  1. But down the line, in the futute?

“I have no idea. But with what we have and all the information we have, yes the World Cup will be played in Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022

SEPP BLATTER

Former FIFA President

“Ladies and gentlemen. We have to clean here first otherwise I will not be able speak to you, ladies and gentlemen, when we speak about football. This has nothing to do with football.

SEPP BLATTER

Former FIFA President

“I am now suspended eight years. Suspended eight years. But I will fight. I will fight for me and I will fight for FIFA, Suspended eight years for what?

“So your question. If I am betrayed. Yes. We have put in this ethics committee to work on the ethical behaviour. But if they deny the evidence and they try to build up something that is not true, Because there is a principle; first of all they have to prove, the criminal has to prove it. But something what is not true cannot be proven, and if it cannot be proven. And if he cannot be proven, [I] cannot be guilty.

By Reuters

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