Cor­rup­tion tur­moil far from over

FIFA head’s right-hand man ar­rested

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - ROB HAR­RIS

More than a year since FIFA de­clared the end of its cor­rup­tion tur­moil, the op­ti­mism has proved mis­guided. The lat­est ar­rest, of the man who is one heart­beat from the pres­i­dency of world soc­cer, demon­strated that on Tues­day.

Fresh wrong­do­ing, still reach­ing into the heart of power in FIFA, un­der­cuts Gianni In­fantino’s pledge to set the gov­ern­ing body on a new path to pro­bity af­ter the mis­deeds of the Sepp Blat­ter era.

Here is a look at fresh off­shoots from the cor­rup­tion scan­dal that burst into the open when sev­eral soc­cer of­fi­cials were ar­rested at a Zurich ho­tel on Tues­day: AN­GEL MARIA VIL­LAR As FIFA’s se­nior vice-pres­i­dent with 19 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence on world soc­cer’s de­ci­sion-mak­ing body, An­gel Maria Vil­lar is one rung down the lad­der from In­fantino.

Now Vil­lar is fight­ing ac­cu­sa­tions of im­proper man­age­ment, mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion of funds, cor­rup­tion, and fal­si­fy­ing doc­u­ments as part of a probe into the fi­nances of the Span­ish fed­er­a­tion he heads. The 67-year-old Vil­lar was ar­rested in Madrid on Tues­day along with his son, whose busi­ness ven­tures he is ac­cused of help­ing to profit from matches ar­ranged for 2010 World Cup win­ner Spain. SHEIKH AH­MAD The long­time Olympic power bro­ker and elec­tion “king­maker” was forced out of his po­si­tion of power in soc­cer in disgrace af­ter be­ing di­rectly im­pli­cated in a bribery plot un­cov­ered by Amer­i­can in­ves­ti­ga­tors. De­spite deny­ing wrong­do­ing, the sheikh quit the elec­tion to re­main on the FIFA Coun­cil ahead of the May elec­tion. RICHARD LAI Lai, an Amer­i­can cit­i­zen from Guam, pleaded guilty to 2015 wire fraud con­spir­acy charges re­lated to tak­ing about $1 US mil­lion in bribes, in­clud­ing at least $850,000 from Kuwaiti of­fi­cials. The scheme was to buy in­flu­ence and help re­cruit other Asian soc­cer of­fi­cials pre­pared to take bribes. VITALY MUTKO As head of the 2018 World Cup, Vitaly Mutko is cen­tral to the suc­cess of FIFA’s show­piece event and en­joys priv­i­leged ac­cess to In­fantino and Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin. That is de­spite mount­ing ev­i­dence un­cov­ered by World Anti-Dop­ing Agency in­ves­ti­ga­tors of how he sub­verted sport through his role in the scheme to coverup dop­ing. As Rus­sian deputy prime min­is­ter, Mutko was banned from re-elec­tion to the FIFA Coun­cil this year on grounds of po­lit­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence.

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