Cape Town - The awarding of hosting rights for the 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa is one of the several ‘schemes’ being investigated by the United States Department of Justice.
The US Justice Department announced conspiracy and corruption charges on Wednesday against nine FIFA officials and five business executives, after Swiss authorities arrested seven suspects based on the indictments.
The 14 officials and executives were charged with a bribery and kickback scheme that spanned over a 24-year period. The Justice Department revealed that four individuals and two companies have already pleaded guilty in the case rocking football's world governing body.
A statement from the Department of Justice claimed “Two generations of soccer officials abused their positions of trust for personal gain, frequently through an alliance with unscrupulous sports marketing executives who shut out competitors and kept highly lucrative contracts for themselves through the systematic payment of bribes and kickbacks.
“All told, the soccer officials are charged with conspiring to solicit and receive well over $150 million in bribes and kickbacks in exchange for their official support of the sports marketing executives who agreed to make the unlawful payments.”
The statement goes on to state that: “Other alleged schemes relate to the payment and receipt of bribes and kickbacks in connection with the sponsorship of the Brazilian national soccer federation (CBF) by a major US sportswear company, the selection of the host country for the 2010 World Cup and the 2011 FIFA presidential election.”
The sting comes just two days before the FIFA presidential elections.
Current FIFA president Sepp Blatter and secretary-general Jerome Valcke are not among those implicated.