WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The US Department of Justice’s corruption charges against top FIFA officials will likely expose more crime and corruption within the organization and lead to more arrests, experts told Sputnik.
“This is a welcome event that the Justice Department and the United States is indicting some of the people involved, and, as they said, this is the beginning not the end of investigation and their actions so other dominos will fall,” Smith College Economics Professor Andrew Zimbalist, who is author of a book detailing the economic gamble countries take when hosting the Olympics and the World Cup, told Sputnik on Thursday.
The Justice Department said that the top ranking FIFA officials received more than $150 million in bribes and kickbacks, and had been bribed to select South Africa as the host of the 2010 World Cup.
College of the Holy Cross Sports Economics Professor Victor Matheson told Sputnik that the 14 defendants will likely give more information to authorities about others within FIFA who were involved in the scandal.
“No one would be surprised if this [corruption] spreads well beyond this, because now you have got 14 new people telling their story of corruption, and I do not think anyone believes that they have gotten everyone who is corrupt,” Matheson said.
A 2014 New York Daily News expose revealed that former FIFA executive committee member and General Secretary of the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), Charles Blazer, allegedly acted as an informant for the FBI to get information about corruption in FIFA.
New York University Law Professor Jennifer Arlen agreed it is likely that some of the other 14 defendants will take a plea bargain to expose corruption among other senior soccer officials.
“One can imagine the government using people who have taken a plea bargain to leverage them as witnesses against more senior officials in FIFA, and in that way steadily move up the organization to eventually indict the top people believed to have been involved in the racketeering,” Arlen told Sputnik.
Earlier on Thursday, CONCACAF announced that it was provisionally dismissing its Vice President and Executive Committee member-elect.
Meanwhile, FIFA elections for a new president are scheduled on Friday. Following the ongoing corruption scandal, numerous US and UK politicians as well as leading football officials throughout the world have warned against reelecting its current president Joseph Blatter.