The world's most popular sport has been plunged into turmoil after U.S. and Swiss authorities announced separate inquiries into the activities of the game's powerful governing body, FIFA. Nathan Frandino reports.
These eight men are among 14 individuals facing corruption charges in a scandal that has rocked the soccer world. Seven of the men, all members of soccer's powerful governing body, FIFA, were arrested at a hotel in Zurich Wednesday morning. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who's leading the probe, says the men are charged with accepting more than $150 million in bribes. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL LORETTA LYNCH SAYING: "They were expected to uphold the rules that keeps soccer honest and protect the integrity of the game. Instead they corrupted the business of worldwide soccer to serve their interests and to enrich themselves." The men have been charged with racketeering, wirefraud and money laundering conspiracies that date back two decades. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL LORETTA LYNCH SAYING: "In short, these individuals through these organizations engaged in bribery to decide who would televise games, where the games would be held, and who would be run the organization overseeing organized soccer worldwide." One of those organizations was CONCACAF, the soccer federation that governs North America, Central America and the Caribbean. Investigators spent Wednesday searching its Miami offices. Former CONCACAF president and one of the accused, Jack Warner, told Trinidad television he is innocent. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JACK WARNER, FORMER CONCACAF PRESIDENT, SAYING: "These allegations have been there for time immemorial, and they are still just (inaudible) allegations." For FIFA, the arrests come at what it calls a "difficult moment" but says President Sepp Blatter - who has not been charged - will seek another term as FIFA head. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FIFA'S DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS ANND PUBLIC AFFAIRS, WALTER DE GREGORIO, SAYING: "As I said before one thing has nothgin to do with the other. So, we go on with the agenda, that you know and the election will take place as it was planned." In the meantime, Swiss prosecuiors say they will investigate the bidding process for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and the 2022 event in Qatar, leading many to believe that the charges announced, are only the beginning.