Six officials from world football governing body FIFA have been arrested by police in Switzerland.
The six were arrested in Zurich on Wednesday pending extradition to the U.S., the Swiss authorities confirmed. This morning’s detentions are being linked to major corruption allegations within FIFA.
“The U.S. authorities suspect them of having received bribes totaling in the millions,” according to a statement from the Swiss Federal Office of Justice (FOJ).
No information has yet been released by the authorities about the identities of detainees.
According to Anadolu Agency, FIFA’s 65th congress is due to gather from Thursday in Zurich to elect a new president. Current FIFA President Sepp Blatter and Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan are fighting for the top post.
The arrest warrants were issued further to a request by the U.S. authorities, the FOJ confirmed, adding that U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York had been investigating “bribes and kick-backs” from the early 1990s until today.
“The bribery suspects – representatives of sports media and sports promotion firms – are alleged to have been involved in schemes to make payments to the soccer functionaries – delegates of FIFA and other functionaries of FIFA sub-organizations – totaling more than $100 million,” the FOJ said.
“In return, it is believed that they received media, marketing, and sponsorship rights in connection with soccer tournaments in Latin America.”
The offenses are thought to have been planned and executed in the U.S.