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FIFA: Fútbol or Fraud?

The FIFA corruption scandal grows expansively as more information is revealed

Rafael+Esquivel+was+among+seven+FIFA+Executives+arrested+for+corruption-related+crimes
Rafael Esquivel was among seven FIFA Executives arrested for corruption-related crimes

Rafael Esquivel was among seven FIFA Executives arrested for corruption-related crimes

AFP / Getty Images

AFP / Getty Images

Rafael Esquivel was among seven FIFA Executives arrested for corruption-related crimes

Jordyn Arnel, Staff Writer

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FIFA, otherwise known as the International Federation of Associated Football, is among one of the most internationally renowned sports organization. Soccer is the most popular sport in the world with an estimated fan base of approximately 3.5 billion people, nearly half of the world population. Considering the adoration of this sport, it would be reasonable to believe that FIFA trusts only the very best, and most highly qualified officials with all aspects of its business. However, the recent confessions of a Venezuelan official have caused people worldwide question its reliability.

Mr. Rafael Esquivel, the president of the Venezuelan Football Federation from 1988 to 2015, admitted to receiving bribes which were connected to the sale of marketing rights of the FIFA tournaments. Esquivel specifically pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, and money laundering conspiracy on Thursday, November 10th. For each individual crime, he could face up to as many as 20 years in prison.

Esquivel did not act alone in these recent bribery crimes. He was just one of the 19 people and two companies that have already pleaded guilty in American investigations.  In total, over 40 people and organizations have been charged with relations to the bribery incident.

Esquivel was among seven officials arrested at a five-star hotel in Zurich in 2015. They were indicted on corruption and accused of accepting a combined total of more than $150 million over a 24-year period. Among those arrested were Jeffrey Webb (FIFA Vice President) and Julio Rocha (FIFA Development Officer.) 

Loretta Lynch, US attorney general, commented on the corruption during a news conference in New York saying, “[The officials] were expected to uphold the rules that keep soccer honest. Instead they corrupted the business of worldwide soccer to serve their interests and enrich themselves.”

Investigations on Esquivel as well as many others are due to continue.

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FIFA: Fútbol or Fraud?