25 August 2015
Sepp Blatter, the President of Fifa (Fédération Internationale de Football Association), who will be stepping down in February, says that there is no corruption in Fifa and that he is clean.
He told BBC that: “I can protect myself. I am strong enough. I know what I have done, what I have not done. I have my conscience and I know I’m an honest man. I am clean.
“The institution is not corrupt. There is no corruption in football. There is corruption with individuals.”
Neither the US nor Swiss authorities have filed any charges against Sepp Blatter.
Fifa’s main source of power is the World Cup, held once in four years. Almost every country in the world has Fifa membership.
Almost 90% of Fifa’s revenue comes from the sale of television, marketing, hospitality and licensing rights for the FIFA World Cup. Over the last four-year period, FIFA generated $5.7 billion in revenues. This is more than the GDP of some small countries.
This vast amount of money floating around tempts those involved in Fifa to appropriate some for their own use. This has been how Fifa was operating for several years. Corruption has become part of the institution.
United States justice department is conducting criminal investigations into alleged Fifa corruption. So far 14 people have been indicted. The investigations relate to allegations that that bribes and kickbacks of more than $150m were handed out over a 24-year period.
The Swiss authorities are investigating the bidding process for the World Cups in 2018 and 2022.
When asked about former Fifa executive Chuck Blazer admitting to accepting bribes in connection with 2010 World Cup, Blatter said that he was not morally responsible that.
Here are some of those who were accused by the US authorities.
Jack Warner, 72, from Trinidad and Tobago was a member of Fifa’s executive committee from 1983 to 2011, when he resigned amid allegations he had bribed Caribbean associates. He was arrested at the request of the US authorities in Trinidad on 27 May and was released on bail after he surrendered his passport.
Jeffrey Webb, 50, from the Cayman Islands, is Concacaf president and one of seven Fifa vice-presidents. He was arrested in Zurich, Switzerland on 27 May and is contesting his extradition to the US. He is accused by US authorities of racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy. Webb was a Business Development Manager at Western Union agent belonging to Fidelity Bank (Cayman) Limited. Outside of banking, Webb co-owns a franchise of Burrell’s bakery chain “Captain’s Bakery” in the Cayman Islands.
Eduardo Li, 56, a Costa Rican of Chinese origin, is the president of the Costa Rican Football Federation. He was accused of money laundering and corruption. He was arrested in Switzerland and is contesting his extradition to the US. According to US indictment ,Li allegedly asked for and was paid a “six-figure bribe” in 2009 for granting the exclusive commercial and broadcast rights to the 2018 World Cup qualifying matches for Costa Rica’s men’s national team. Costa Rican authorities are conducting their own investigation to ascertain whether the accusations of the US authorities are valid. Li controls at least 10 companies in Costa Rica.
Jose Maria Marin, 83, was president of the Brazilian Football Confederation from March 2012 to April 2015. He has previously served as vice-governor and governor of São Paulo state. He was arrested in Switzerland and is contesting his extradition to the US. He was accused of taking bribes amounting to $100m over the past two decades.
Eugenio Figueredo is a former president of the South American Football Confederation and a member of Fifa’s executive committee. He was arrested in Switzerland and is held there. A Uruguayan judge has seized nine properties belonging to Eugenio Figueredo. He holds U.S. naturalized citizenship.
Rafael Esquivel has been the president of the Venezuelan Football Federation since 1988. He was arrested in Switzerland and is contesting his extradition to the US.
Julio Cesar Rocha Lopez, 64, has been the president of the Venezuelan Football Federation since 1988. He is currently with Fifa as a development officer responsible for introducing new football projects around the world. He was arrested in Switzerland and is contesting his extradition to the US.
Costas Takkas, 58, a British citizen, worked as general secretary of Cayman Islands football association. He is closely linked to Jeffrey Webb. He was arrested in Switzerland and is contesting his extradition to the US.
Nicolas Leoz, 86, a Paraguayan, left Fifa’s executive committee on “health and personal” grounds in 2013. BBC’s Panorama program accused him of taking bribes in the 1980s. He is under house arrest in Paraguay.
Alejandro Burzaco, 50, Argentine, is president of sports marketing company Torneos y Competencias. The US Department of Justice alleges that he controlled media rights by paying $100 million in bribes.
Hugo Jinkis, 70, and his son Mariano own a sports company called Full Play. They paid bribes to win media contracts from regional football federations. Their whereabouts are unknown but local reports suggest they are in Argentina.
Aaron Davidson, 44, is the president of Traffic Sports USA, a football event company that has previously managed Concacaf matches. He pleaded not guilty in a New York court on 29 May on charges including racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering, and was released on bail.
Jose Margulies, 75, is a Brazilian broadcasting executive. He acted as an intermediary to facilitate the paying of bribes between sports marketing companies and Fifa officials. He has not yet been arrested. His whereabouts are unknown. He is rumored to be in Germany.