Top Stories

Switzerland opens criminal proceedings against FIFA

FIFA headquarters


The U.S. Department of Justice isn’t the only governmental body currently investigating FIFA for alleged criminal behavior.

After the U.S. DOJ unsealed a 47-count indictment on early Wednesday morning, the Office of the Attorney General in Switzerland announced that they’ve opened criminal proceedings against FIFA, in connection to the 2018 and 2022 World Cup selection, and that electronic data and other documents were seized from FIFA’s headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland.

“The files seized today and the collected bank documents will serve criminal proceedings both in Switzerland and abroad,” the Swiss OAG wrote in a statement. “In the Swiss criminal proceedings, opened by the OAG on March 10, 2015, it is suspected that irregularities occurred in the allocation of the FIFA World Cups of 2018 and 2022.

“The corresponding unjust enrichment is suspected to have taken place at least partly in Switzerland. Furthermore, the head office of the damaged party, FIFA, is in Switzerland. For these reasons, investigations are being carried out on the suspicion of criminal mismanagement.

“There are also suspicions of money laundering through Swiss bank accounts. Subsequently to today’s seizure of files, the OAG and the Swiss Federal Criminal Police will be questioning 10 persons who took part in voting on the allocation of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups as members of the Executive Committee in 2010. These persons should be questioned as persons providing information.”

The OAG’s seizure of FIFA documents was coordinated with the U.S. DOJ’s arrest of seven FIFA officials this morning in a Zurich hotel, though the OAG made sure to point out in their press release that the DOJ’s investigation into FIFA criminal behavior is separate from the OAG’s.

“For reasons of criminal procedure (principle of proportionality), the procedure coordinated with the requested acts of the U.S. authorities was designed in such a way as to allow the procurement of any criminally relevant data in an effective manner, and to avoid any possible collusion,” the OAG wrote. “These measures were carried out simultaneously as a large number of persons involved in allocating the World Cups were currently in Zurich.”

In relation to the U.S. DOJ investigation and action, the Swiss Federal Office of Justice has ordered the blocking of bank accounts in Switzerland which allegedly were used to send bribes and kickbacks. The FOJ also ordered the seizure of related bank documents.

In a statement, FIFA said that it is “fully cooperating with the investigation and is supporting the collection of evidence in this regard.”


What do you think of this news? Excited that FIFA is finally being taken to task by multiple justice departments? Do you see the Swiss authorities finding out anything new about the 2018/2022 World Cup selection process?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Am I the only one that finds it ironic that many of us here in America have been clamoring for the World Cup to be taken away from Qatar due to corruption (deservedly so), but then all these arrests by the DOJ happen for corruption dealing with the 2016 Copa America in the United States?

    Uh Oh.

  2. Are these the investigations started after the Garcia report was delivered? I think I remember Seppuku saying something about FIFA contacting Swiss police at that time to investigate two of their own members. This would make sense as to why they are,the damaged party

  3. I wonder if indictments to former and current South American conmebol officials will prevent Copa Centenario from taking place in the US. Thank you Loretta Lynch, thank you Obama.

    • I am looking forward to the Copa America so much but I would trade one incredible month of soccer in the USA for a cleaner future in USA, NA and global soccer.

  4. So how do we get the World Cups moved ASAP now? FIFA refuses to revote them and these arrests don’t seem to be helping…

    • In my mind, there is no way they move the World Cups

      There has been so much money spent. Who is going to pay that back? So a guy in FIFA took a bribe from an unknown source, and many, many people in Russia and Qatar lose out.

      So many problems with no answers when you move them. Not happening is my guess.

    • no one is going to force the WC’s out of Russia and Qatar except an entirely new leadership within FIFA or a body that replaces them. If it is proven that the bids were won unfairly, the hosts are not suitable (war, human rights, safety) and new leadership in charge we could see that change.

  5. As for the narrowed focus on Concacaf and the South American officials, focusing on these individuals were the only way for the FBI to get involved. The FBI can only investigate crimes linked to Americans or American institution. The U.S. was the only country that had the balls to go after FIFA. Obviously their evidence must be pretty solid for the Swiss to execute our warrants. Chuck Blazer rolled on everyone and the blood bath has just begun.

    As for the cat trying to shift focus to the financial sector, I guess billions of dollars worth of fines doesn’t equate accountability.

  6. I really like that the US DOJ is a leader in this. This is a step towards a leadership role in world soccer for us. It also shows some good old fashioned American balls – to go after an injustice and do something about it. Bravo to whoever was behind making this a priority.

    • It goes to help poor orphans throughout the world. LOL.

      I don’t know where is does or even where it should go. Shouldn’t be where it is and shouldn’t go back to those how paid.

      The numbers are so huge. I am blown away, because this has to be the very tip of an iceberg for FIFA.

    • “All money forfeited by the defendants is being held in reserve to ensure its availability to satisfy any order of restitution entered at sentencing for the benefit of any individuals or entities that qualify as victims of the defendants’ crimes under federal law.”

  7. finally!!! Blatter get out!!!
    Finally somebody did something.. but why is it the USA??
    Maradona for FIFA President!!

    • I wish the US would spearhead an effort to start a new worldwide soccer governing body. FIFA cannot be fixed.

      • Considering how some of the arrested are Americans and Chuck Blazer, an American, it’s in the middle of it all I highly doubt the world would trust us to be much better than the current administration.

      • You’d need the big guys for that. The US doesn’t have the soccer clout; Brazil, Spain, Germany, England. Then we’d be cooking with gasoline.

      • The US is a big guy. Where do you think all that sponsorship $ come from? Coca Cola, McDonald’s, Visa, and American broadcast partners spend hundreds of millions in the sport.

    • I look at as almost the opposite.

      They are ALL corrupt, this part of the world is the only ones doing anything about it.

      • Yep, this exactly. I guarantee that there isn’t a single FIFA Executive that isn’t dirty, but they are lucky to live in areas that won’t prosecute them.

      • Might be true. It makes me wonder, though, why there’s been hardly any accountability for corruption connected to the 2008 financial crisis here in the US, but our federal prosecutors are going after international sports corruption.

      • When the Swiss are launching an investigation into you for financial impropriety, you’ve been a very bad boy indeed.

        Normally the Swiss are…kind of reticent to cough up bank account numbers, even if the person involved is an alleged terrorist, drug dealer, or Ponzi-scheme operator like Bernie Madoff.

        And yet they’re going after FIFA. I guess when you mess with people’s soccer, then, by God, you’ve gone too far. The inhumanity!

        Almost wonder if this is more backlash against Russia than Qatar. Russia almost certainly bought 2018 as blatantly as Qatar bought 2022, the only difference is, Russia’s actually a viable – if somewhat unpleasant – host nation, so it didn’t look quite as glaring as handing the World Cup to a tiny slave-labor-based oil state with no stadia, infrastructure, and 130-plus degree summertime temps. But Russia’s busy re-arming militarily and leaning all over their neighbors, and Europe is not exactly happy about it.

        This could get messy.

      • It should be noted in properly analyzing the above conspiracy theory that there was a dramatic shift in the reticence of the Swiss to cough up bank account info two years ago when they signed an agreement with the OECD.

        Basically the days of hiding your evasion of taxes in a Swiss Account have been dead for two years, and this is yet another example.

      • i guess Switzerland finally got tired of FIFA destroying their reputation.

        this is amazing; if only it happened 5-10 years ago

      • They aren’t “ALL” corrupt (but you probably already know that). It’s just that the cultures or corruption that has engulfed the organization makes it easy to just assume that everybody involved is dirty.

  8. To quote Tony the Tiger, this is “GRRRRRRREAT!”

    Between the US driven arrests and the Swiss investigation, this is a strategy that increases the likelihood that Sepp Blatter won’t be re-elected and therefore easier to bring down. Unfortunately, it won’t get the WC out of Qatar (b/c the only candidate left in the race hails from that Confederation and will work to make sure Qatar keeps the WC). But for future WCs and FIFA business, this is good news.

    • No, if Prince Ali bin al Hussein becomes President (admittedly a small chance), he’ll take the World Cup out of Qatar. He actually is honest, and doesn’t want it there any more than we do.


Leave a Comment