U.S. Justice Department Indicts FIFA Officials

Stephanie Clifford and Matt Apuzzo, reporting for the NYT:

With billions of dollars at stake, Morocco, Egypt and South Africa jockeyed in 2004 for the privilege of hosting soccer’s most prestigious tournament, the World Cup. The outcome hinged on a decision by the executive committee of FIFA, soccer’s governing body, and a single vote could tip the decision.

And at least one vote, prosecutors said Wednesday, was for sale.

Jack Warner, a committee member from Trinidad and Tobago, shopped his ballot to the highest bidder, federal prosecutors said. In early 2004, he flew to Morocco, where a member of that country’s bid committee offered him $1 million. But South Africa had a sweeter deal, offering $10 million to a group that Mr. Warner controlled, prosecutors said. He voted for South Africa. South Africa got the World Cup. And Mr. Warner got his $10 million payout, much of which prosecutors said he diverted for his personal use.

There’s a certain irony in this case being pursued by the government of the United States — one of the least soccer-crazed nations on the planet. Absolutely jaw-dropping tale of corruption. Really makes me wonder about whether matches were fixed, too.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015