WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Wednesday, seven high-ranking FIFA officials were arrested in Switzerland on a US federal corruption warrant.
“FIFA is supposed to meet on Friday to sanction Israel over the atrocious way it has treated Palestinian soccer players for years, and it looks as if they’ll probably be suspended,” University of Illinois Professor of Law Francis Boyle told Sputnik on Thursday. “This [FIFA corruption charges] might discombobulate that entire process.”
US officials, Boyle argued, also want to punish Russia by stripping them of the honor of hosting the World Cup in 2018.
“The Obama people want to knock FIFA President Joseph Blatter off because he was Director of FIFA when they awarded the 2018 World Cup to Russia.”
Wednesday’s announcement by the US Justice Department of charges against FIFA officials, days before they were about to potentially elect Blatter to a fifth term, might not have derailed Russia from hosting the Cup, but has sullied the image of the 2018 international football competition, he said.
“It has already tarnished the 2018 World Cup and could provide a pretext for the United States and the European states to launch a boycott.”
Washington took the same approach toward Russia when Sochi hosted the Olympics, Boyle added.
“Obama used that as the timing to launch is coup d’état against Yanukovych in Ukraine to spoil the Olympics for Russia.”
Boyle stressed that the timing of the charges fits into the Obama administration’s overall neoconservative agenda, against both Palestine and Russia.
Antiwar.com News Editor Jason Ditz told Sputnik that the key motivating factors for the United States in announcing the FIFA charges was to pressure FIFA to stop any moves to expel Israel from the competition and to undermine Russia hosting the World Cup in 2018.
“It [FIFA corruption charges] is very revealing and in keeping with the way the Obama administration has been dealing with Russia in recent months,” Ditz said.
Since the Maidan Revolution and the beginning of the civil war in Ukraine, the Obama administration has been very hostile towards Russia in international venues, Ditz added.
The US had a chip on its shoulder about Russia being allowed to host major international sporting events since the beginning of the current Ukraine crisis, Ditz added.
“We see this already in US official attitudes toward the holding of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014,” Ditz explained.