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U.S. Senate subcommittee grills U.S. Soccer CEO about FIFA corruption



U.S. Soccer CEO Dan Flynn is normally a behind-the-scenes official, but on Wednesday he was front and center in the eye of the FIFA corruption storm as he faced hard questions from a U.S. Senate subcommittee about U.S. Soccer’s knowledge of FIFA and CONCACAF corruption.

Flynn denied knowledge of any corruption within FIFA or CONCACAF prior to the emergence of a federal investigation that led to arrests of several high-ranking FIFA officials last month.

“I had no hard evidence (of corruption),” Flynn told the Senate’s Commerce subcommittee on Consumer Protection. “We wanted to continue to participate to try to influence the organization as one of 209 members. The second choice we had was to opt out (of FIFA), and with that comes a series of ramifications. We no longer have a seat at the table. We no longer are involved in competitions. Olympics, World Cups, any competitions.

“And it has far-ranging ramifications for U.S. Soccer and the business model of soccer in our country.”

Flynn, who appeared nervous at times, and consulted with his lawyer before certain points of hiss testimony, admitted to feeling uncomfortable at times when dealing with CONCACAF officials.

“There were moments I would describe – if I had a level of discomfort, I would not participate and I would just get myself out of any situation that offered any level of discomfort,” said Flynn, who stated he never discovered tangible evidence of corruption during his interactions with CONCACAF. “I wouldn’t say evidence. I’d say I think it was the comfort level.”

“If there were cold facts, I would have brought that to the attention of the appropriate people,” Flynn said. “There was nothing in the way of any facts that I could take to anybody else. Obviously I would consult our outside counsel, but that’s as far as I would take it.”

Though Flynn measured his words carefully, one person who did not mince words during the hearing was British investigative journalist Andrew Jennings, who bashed FIFA and slammed U.S. Soccer for not doing more to stop FIFA and CONCACAF corruption.

Here is Jennings’ opening statement to the subcommittee:

What did you think of the Senate hearing? Think U.S. Soccer officials should share in the blame for CONCACAF and FIFA corruption?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Andrew Jeennings sure likes to toot his horn, likes being theatrical also. The U.S. start a new
    Governing body? Everybody already accuses us for being imperialistic. Of course there would be no more World Cup as surely FIFA holds the rights to the name.

  2. Wow, lots of vitriol here, just like yesterday’s hearing, all of it going nowhere.

    It was a show people, that’s all it was. Like anytime Congress gets involved in sports, it’s just for the press release and the show. These Senators couldn’t even be bothered to learn how to pronounce FIFA or Sepp Blatter correctly.

    You all know Chuck Blazer was indicted 3 years ago, right? He’s been cooperating with the FBI since then, that’s what has led to all those other indictments, right? You don’t think Flynn and Gulati have been questioned as well? Of course they have. The US is the ONLY country to have done anything about FIFA’s corruption, and for some foreign journalist to come here and point fingers is downright laughable.

    As far as what did they know and when did they know it. That’s utterly meaningless. What you know means nothing. You go to the authorities with something, it better be something you can PROVE. It’s not the job of Mr. Flynn or Mr. Gulati to go around collecting evidence.

    Further, testimony in this little show was not compelled, nor were the witnesses sworn in, meaning there was no chance of someone perjuring themselves. Swearing in witnesses would have put a different level of decorum on the hearing, taking away from the Senators ability to ramble on about nothing.

    I’m not surprised Mr. Gulati didn’t show up, the man is a Professor at an Ivy League University. He knows a waste of time when he sees one. And that’s what this was, a nice little show that will produce nothing.

  3. This should be the biggest story in American soccer circles, and yet this little blurb is all I have heard on the subject. I found nothing on the four-letter network. I commend Ives for putting up the article, but it shows the lack of any hard journalistic work on the sport of soccer in mainstream America.

    • Actually, it is an utterly trivial story. Hopefully you actually listened to the interview….. if you did, youd have seen

    • As has been pointed out articulately by others such as FulhamDC and Mario, it’s a classic Washington D.C. dog-and-pony show. A bunch of utterly uniformed DC politicians pretending to ask “hardball” questions while actually sounding like a bunch of uninformed ninnies, whose only exposure to soccer happens when their first wife takes their kids to soccer practice and complains that they no-showed. The story will be gone by next week.

      • ‘A bunch of utterly uniformed DC politicians pretending to ask “hardball” questions while actually sounding like a bunch of uninformed ninnies, whose only exposure to soccer happens when their first wife takes their kids to soccer practice and complains that they no-showed.’


  4. I’m not surprised Gulati decided not to show up. His only two options were to commit perjury or plead the 5th to every other question. The man is not stupid. A scumbag maybe, but not stupid. It looks like Flynn will be the sacrificial lamb on this one.

  5. Am I missing something? The headline says “U.S. SENATE SUBCOMMITTEE GRILLS U.S. SOCCER CEO ABOUT FIFA CORRUPTION” Where is that video?

  6. So Gulati should have gone guns blazing to the FBI with whatever they had…..US gets “suspended for political interference” or some such bull story clearly in accordance with FIFA bylaws. No more World Cup, International qualifiers, or transfer of International players to US. MLS collapses, Soccer back to the days NASL was banned by FIFA (for not adhering to Laws of the Game). Action and consequences.

    Of course, the FBI in a few years would have blown the lid as they have done now and it would take years for FIFA to get cleaned out, if ever. But by that time US Soccer would be but a mere memory.

    No, by playing along and setting the table so as to grab FIFA by the neck before FIFA did it to US Soccer is a much better way, certainly for me as an American soccer fan.

    • Every now and then, a lucid thought appears in the comments section. Mario in QT has such a take. In the end, Capone was not brought down by guns but by tax laws. Similarly for corruption of this type.
      Still…believe Gulati should be there to testify.

      In the end, US Govt. US Soccer and there is little interest in the subject judging by the lack of attendance by other Senators from the committee.

    • He could have resigned in protest.

      Then, as a private citizen, he could’ve told everything he knew.
      Might’ve brought change, might not have, but he wouldn’t be a criminal

      • He isn’t a criminal. He will never be indicted for a single thing…. he has not even been accused of a single thing other than knuckleheads on comment boards.

        As for why people believed Gulati “stood by and feigned ignorance”, I will never understand. Do you really think Gulati has nothing to do with the justice measures that have finally been coming down in FIFA? That he was totally surprised, and had not seen the arrests and prosecutions coming? That he hasn’t been quitely participating in the whole process? Guy has played our hand masterfully thus far. Him “standing down in protest” would have been an utter and complete waste of our best asset.

      • Dude you are so clueless I don’t even know where to start
        Someone like Bryan K help me with this guy. I don’t have the energy

        “Gulati doesn’t even take a salary” SIGH

      • Bwhahahahaha…. A sure sign of a guy who knows what he is talking about… asking BrianK to “help him out”. BrianK is the only clown less informed than you on this situation,… why would you want his help?

        Why don’t you just admit you haven’t done any homework, have no clue about Gulati’s bio, and really are just grasping at straws. Please, tell me what is Gulati’s USSF salary? I am waiting but not holding my breath. Yes, he earns money from FIFA, which he has openly offered to disclose.

        I know Sunil Gulati personally. I took his class at Columbia. I trade emails with him regularly. He is not a good man… he is a great man, and has done more for soccer in this country than any internet chucklehead like yourself ever will.

        Ask yourself, why are you asking some guy you don’t know named “BrianK” to help you construct an argument you obviously can’t deal with? Why isn’t Grant Wahl, or Ives, or anybody with high-level knowledge of US Soccer calling Gulati out? Why aren’t any of the other bigwigs in FIFA or other national FA’s calling Gulati out? Could it be because Gulati has very obviously done nothing wrong?

        If you “don’t have the energy” to say something intelligent, here’s a tip… don’t say anything at all.

  7. USSF is MLS
    MLS is SUM
    SUM is USSF

    This is not how you run a clean, transparent foundation. There’s too much temptation. The mission of USSF is to grow the game. That means all leagues – professional, amateur, male, and female.

    That is currently impossible with the degree of closeness and overlap between USSF, MLS, and SUM.

    New federation, please

    • What is SUM?

      And also, if you are really Steve Albini, tell me where you recorded your first Sonic Youth album?

    • I have no idea where you got any of these ideas. The USSF and MLS have had many very public battles over the past year alone.

      Want to see a nation with massive overlap between the FA and clubs? Check out the relationship with the DFB and Bayern Munich. And then remind us what Germany and Bayern have achieved over the past couple of years.

      Ultimately, what I don’t understand here is why some people seem to be calling for the heads of people who are effectively succeeding in their mandate, The women just lifted the World Cup, in no small part because Gulati had the stones to make a very controversial but ultimately very prudent change at the head coaching level. The men’s team continues to add to their list of unprecedented results. As far as I can see, the people in charge are doing an exceptional job by any standard in looking out for the success of our programs.

      We are extremely fortunate to have guys like Gulati, who have worked selflessly for the US game over the course of a couple of decades (Gulati began his career with US Soccer driving the team van back in the bad old days, and still doesn’t even take a salary). He has never been accused of corruption by anybody of any meaning in global soccer, or in academics, where he is also a standout. The guy is a saint, and a total departure from nearly all of his peers in the global game.

  8. First,…USSF must completely clean house,…everybody out,…Gulati, Flynn, the GC, etc. they all knew this nonsense going on and they played along,..they didn’t want to rock the boat. What they failed to realize is that we are the USSF and they were responsible for stewardship of this organization and our national pride. They failed miserably. Silence is consent. Any half-educated, half-honest individual could see that Warner, Blazer and these Caribean reps were rotten and deeded to be disposed of. Gulati, Flynn, et al just didn’t want to rock the boat. IT IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH for them to say they weren’t involved. If they wanted to clean it up, they would have the power of the USSF, USOC and Justive Department behind them.

    Over the years I have heard people refer to Gulati as the “the sharpest tool in the shed.” Truth is, he is a weak little worm of a man. Flynn is part of the system and has to go.

    • I am sorry to tell you Brian that Gulati is president for life. It is not for public knowledge but he has insulated himself where there either is no further elections or he cannot lose the election.
      Get used to President Gulati. He and Flynn runs everything, make every decision along with Jay Burhalter. Flynn also takes in a salary of about 450k

      How’s that grab ya?

      • Paul,

        Doubt Gulati is President for life. Like. Warner and Blatter he wields a lot of power,….but I have news for you…he is loathed! Loathed by many in US soccer.

        As for Flynn,…I think the salary you note is probably a little light. My guess is that he is pulling in well north of $1MM in total comp.

        All of that said,…they can’t insulate themselves from change. No way.

      • Hilarious. More speculative hogwash. Please, since you are so well-informed on the inner workings of US Soccer– name a solitary one of these important individuals within US Soccer who “loathe” Sunil Gulati….. don’t be shy! Really– we are dying to know!!! Names, please!!!!

  9. The elected officials who asked questions were embarrassingly uneducated on the structure of international soccer/FIFA/etc. to the point a quick look at Wikipedia before the hearing would have greatly benefited them.

    Jennings was the only one on that side of the mic that had any clue what he or she was doing/saying

  10. Interesting video (and entertaining)! With real questions we are not hearing. It’s kinda embarrassing and shameful to think that U.S. Soccer may have known much more about these events than previously known. And if our organization reaped benefits they should certainly suffer the consequences. And the dude is right: Sunlil must be held to the same questioning.

    • C-Span is way better than regular cable news. Like ODB said, “ooh, baby I like it raw…yeah baby, I like it raw!”

    • Jennings did criticize the FA for wasting time and money to bid on a World Cup when they knew there would likely be corruption. Also the English FA has spoken out about boycotting the World Cups, spoken out about the lack of transparency, and I believe they boycotted a FIFA presidential vote. Furthermore, Jennings mainly criticized US Soccer for turning a blind eye to the corruption in CONCACAF, not FIFA as much. He pointed out that it was the St. Kits FA that finally spoke out and got things rolling in regards to the CONCACAF corruption. If St. Kits had the guts to do that why didn’t US Soccer.

  11. Every person who has had any interest in soccer in America, knew that concacaf and especially Jack Warner were rotten to the core. Soccer blogs regularly covered his antics. This is more a question of self interest and not having definitive proof mixed with a case of willful blindness.

    • ^Exactly. Turned a blind eye and didn’t try to get facts regarding corruption. Actually you didn’t even need to dig up the facts. Warner lying to the T & T players about the revenue brought in for 2006 WC and not paying them should have been enough to speak up regarding things in CONCACAF. US Soccer didn’t care because Blazer’s Gold Cup was brining millions to US Soccer.


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