FIFA IN TUR­MOIL

Qatar Today - - AFFAIRS -

Amidst what many an­a­lysts have dubbed the big­gest cri­sis fac­ing the sport­ing as­so­ci­a­tion, sev­eral high­rank­ing FIFA of­fi­cials were ar­rested in Zurich, just days be­fore the elec­tions for a new pres­i­dent.

It was a week of high drama at FIFA, with the un­fold­ing of a se­ries of events each more shock­ing than the last. It be­gan with the sud­den ar­rest of 14 FIFA of­fi­cials in Zurich. They are to be ex­tra­dited to the United States where they face charges by the US Depart­ment of Jus­tice for wire fraud, rack­e­teer­ing, and money laun­der­ing. Swiss author­i­ties then an­nounced that they have also opened a sep­a­rate crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion into FIFA's bid­ding process be­hind the awards of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Sepp Blat­ter con­firmed he wouldn't re­sign and would in fact run for a fifth term in the elec­tions that were only a few days away. At the charged and closely scru­ti­nised FIFA Congress, Blat­ter was voted in af­ter his con­tender Prince Ali bin Al Hus­sein pulled out af­ter the first round of vot­ing. But be­fore com­plet­ing even a week as the new pres­i­dent, FIFA con­vened a hasty press con­fer­ence where Blat­ter an­nounced his in­ten­tion to re­sign af­ter the Congress elects a new pres­i­dent, which wouldn't be for a few more months. This fol­lowed closely on the heels of fresh al­le­ga­tions that his deputy Jerome Val­cke at least knew about the bribes al­legedly paid by the South African Football As­so­ci­a­tion. Mean­while, news was trick­ling down from the US that the Fed­eral Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion and US pros­e­cu­tors were in­ves­ti­gat­ing Blat­ter him­self, though he hasn't yet been charged with any­thing.

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