Fifa: Know about the football empire and its corruption scandal that unfolded in May 2015

Fifa spokesman Walter De Gregorio arriving to give a press conference at the Fifa headquarters, on May 27, 2015 in Zurich. -- PHOTO: AFP
Fifa spokesman Walter De Gregorio arriving to give a press conference at the Fifa headquarters, on May 27, 2015 in Zurich. -- PHOTO: AFP

Fifa, the governing body of world football has been embroiled in a corruption scandal, after seven of its officials were arrested on May 27 in the Baur au Lac hotel in Switzerland's capital Zurich, where Fifa is headquartered.

The officials were arrested and detained pending extradition to the United States. They have been indicted for racketeering, conspiracy and corruption. Seven others, including former Fifa officials also face corruption indictment.

The allegations come just before the Fifa presidential election to be held on May 29. This is not the first time that Fifa is in the limelight for the wrong reasons. It has also been hit with accusations over corruption against Qatar's 2022 World Cup bid.

How the events unfolded


It started with Swiss police raiding the hotel apparently at a time that they knew that a significant number of their suspects would not just be in the same city but also in the the same hotel. A luxury hotel with views overlooking the Alps has long been favoured by Fifa officials visiting Zurich.

Who are those in trouble?


Among those accused of corruption are Fifa vice-president Jeffrey Webb, 50, from the Cayman Islands, Eugenio Figueredo, 83, from Uruguay, who is also a vice-president, and Venezuelan Rafael Esquivel, 68, member of Fifa's disciplinary committee. Seven others, including former football officials, have also been accused.

Who is leading the probe?


Just weeks after taking office as America's top law enforcer, Loretta Lynch dealt the stinging blow to Fifa. In announcing corruption indictments against 14 people including nine football officials, Ms Lynch followed up on a probe she had begun and waged tenaciously as an aggressive, no-nonsense US attorney in New York.

Scandal comes just before the Fifa presidential election


On Friday (May 29), members will cast their votes to determine the president of Fifa. Current president Sepp Blatter, who does not face any charges, is poised to be re-elected, after 17 years at the helm. His only contender is Jordanian Prince Ali Al Hussein.

Possibly Fifa's sternest test


As the Fifa presidential election looms, Rob Hughes looks at the politics behind the members' votes.

Other Fifa officials in trouble


On May 13, Fifa banned former vice-president Reynald Temarii for eight years for accepting almost US$350,000 (S$460,000) from disgraced Qatari official Mohamed Hammam to pay legal fees in a corruption case. Hammam paid Temarii €305,640 ($460,000) in January 2011, weeks after Fifa voted to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, said a Fifa statement. Temarii, was at the time head of the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) as well as the Tahiti Football Association chief.

Bids for upcoming World Cup tournaments prompted corruption report


In June 2014, top European football officials publicly called on Fifa president Sepp Blatter to end his reign amid accusations of corruption against Qatar's 2022 World Cup bid.

In December 2014, former US prosecutor Michael Garcia resigned as Fifa's chief corruption investigator in protest at the football governing body's handling of his report into the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Mr Garcia attacked the "lack of leadership" by Fifa over the inquiry into the 2010 votes that awarded the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.