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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

FIFA corruption arrests: What they said

Swiss authorities have arrested several top FIFA officials and plan to extradite them to the United States, where they will face federal corruption charges. Here are a selection of quotes about the revelations at FIFA.


"Let's be clear: this is the beginning of our effort -- not the end" -- Kelly Currie, Acting U.S. Attorney.

"The indictment alleges corruption that is rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted both abroad and here in the United States. It spans at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks.

"And it has profoundly harmed a multitude of victims, from the youth leagues and developing countries that should benefit from the revenue generated by the commercial rights these organizations hold, to the fans at home and throughout the world whose support for the game makes those rights valuable.

"Today's action makes clear that this Department of Justice intends to end any such corrupt practices, to root out misconduct, and to bring wrongdoers to justice - and we look forward to continuing to work with other countries in this effort" -- Loretta Lynch, U.S. Attorney General.

"Whether you call it soccer or football, the fans, players and sponsors should not have to worry about officials corrupting their sport. It isn't about soccer, it's about corruption. Spanning over several continents and countries... this investigation was complex and thorough. Those in positions of power abused that trust" -- Richard Weber, the IRS Director of Criminal Investigation.

"As charged in the indictment, the defendants fostered a culture of corruption and greed that created an uneven playing field for the biggest sport in the world. Undisclosed and illegal payments, kickbacks and bribes became a way of doing business at FIFA. When leaders in an organisation resort to cheating the very members that they were supposed to represent, they must be held accountable'' -- FBI director James B Comey.


"Let me be clear: such misconduct has no place in football and we will ensure that those who engage in it are put out of the game. Following the events of today, the independent Ethics Committee - which is in the midst of its own proceedings regarding the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups - took swift action to provisionally ban those individuals named by the authorities from any football-related activities at the national and international level'' -- FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

"The election will take place as planned. The World Cups 2018 and 2022 will be played in Russia and Qatar'' -- FIFA communications director Walter De Gregorio.

"UEFA is astonished and saddened by the events which have taken place earlier today in Zurich and is now waiting for additional information. An informal meeting of the UEFA Executive Committee will take place this afternoon in Warsaw prior to the UEFA Europa League final to discuss the matter and further communication will be made in due course" -- official statement from UEFA.


"Today is a sad day for football. Clearly this is a developing story, the details of which are still emerging. It would not be appropriate to comment further at this time" -- Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, the only challenger to Blatter for Friday's election.

"The Asian Football Confederation expresses its disappointment and sadness at Wednesday's events in Zurich whilst opposing any delay in the FIFA Presidential elections to take place on Friday in Zurich'' -- Asian Football Confederation.

"People who love football such as I do, will remember May 26 as one of the worst days of the history of FIFA. I reiterate what I said last week: what is happening next Friday in Zurich it's not an election. Now, there are many more people who agree with me. To give consent to this plebiscite is a mistake'' -- former FIFA presidential candidate Luis Figo.

"Today's disclosures exceed every measure of imagination. In the wake of the developments, it would be a fatal signal to go ahead with agenda of the FIFA Congress as planned. You can't just back to business as usual. Should the accusation turn out to be true, it would shake FIFA and all of the world football to the very foundations. Sepp Blatter -- even though apparently not personally affected -- should do football a big service. It can't go on like that" -- German Football League [DFL] president Reinhard Rauball

"What's happening in Zurich is shocking and harmful for the entire football. It would be shocking should the strong accusations against FIFA members turn out to be true. In the light of those recent events, we at UEFA will confer how to act on the upcoming FIFA congress" -- DFB president and new member of FIFA exco Wolfgang Niersbach to SID

"This is another sad day for FIFA. I hope the investigations that FIFA have themselves initiated will lead to those individuals - if found guilty of dishonesty and corruption - dealt with in the strongest possible manner by the law authorities'' -- Jim Boyce, Britain's outgoing FIFA vice-president.


"I have been afforded no due process and I have not even been questioned in this matter. I reiterate that I am innocent of any charges. I have walked away from the politics of world football to immerse myself in the improvement of lives in this country where I shall, God willing, die'' -- former FIFA vice president and executive committee member Jack Warner, who is among those indicted.

"Without going into the details of the accusations ... this is clearly another case of illegal exterritorial use of U.S. law. We hope that this will not in any way be used to cast a shadow on the international football organisation as a whole and its decisions. Once again we are calling on Washington to stop attempts to make justice far beyond its borders using its legal norms and to follow the generally accepted international legal procedures" -- Russia responds to the corruption charges.


"Sometimes I think now we are too quick to convict people who have not been proven guilty and you have to be very cautious on that. I don't know if people are guilty of corruption or not. That's the suspicion. If people are guilty of corruption, of course who want action to be taken. At the momentum nothing has been proven and you usually have to wait a little longer. Sometimes people are convicted too quickly before justice is done.

"It is embarrassing. You wonder what the FBI are doing in there, I don't know. We have to wait. I'm not an expert on legal side between the United States and Switzerland. There is no extradition between Switzerland and some European countries, but it looks to be there between the United States and Swizterland. It looks difficult [to hold the FIFA Presidential elections] now" -- Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

"I think it's important to note that whatever happens in Switzerland or in Brazil or in Japan with their federations or even our own federation in FIFA, we have no idea what goes on, nor do we have control. I want to talk about Megan Rapinoe and Hope Solo and what they're doing on the pitch. Not what FIFA is doing behind back channels" -- U.S. national women's team star Abby Wambach.


"The adidas Group is fully committed to creating a culture that promotes the highest standards of ethics and compliance, and we expect the same from our partners. Following today's news, we can therefore only encourage FIFA to continue to establish and follow transparent compliance standards in everything they do. adidas is the world's leading football brand and we will continue to support football on all levels" -- adidas statement.

"We expect all of our partners to maintain strong ethical standards and operate with transparency" -- Budweiser statement.

"You can imagine the scene, the hotel bar where all the FIFA officials stay, the place where most of the action was going on during the bidding process and the idea of a number of officers wandering up to rooms and escorting FIFA officials out would have been a sight to see" -- Simon Johnson, chief operating officer for England's 2018 World Cup bid.

"We should stress this morning's developments are very serious for FIFA and its current leadership. As one of the associations who nominated Prince Ali it will not surprise you to learn that if the election for president goes ahead the FA will be voting for him. However, there must be a question mark over whether the election should take place in these circumstances'' -- Football Association chairman Greg Dyke.

"I fully back the FA's position that change and reform is urgently needed at the top of FIFA, including its leadership. I welcome the investigations that are now under way into the allegations of bribery and corruption'' -- Sports minister Tracey Crouch.

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