Following years of persistent rumors of FIFA's systemic corruption, the U.S. and Switzerland launched a full-on investigation into the international governing body of one of the most beloved sports in the world, soccer. Here's what you need to know about the FIFA corruption probe.
The Justice Department arrested 14 people.
At the behest of the U.S. Justice Department, Swiss authorities arrested six FIFA officials in a Zurich hotel early on Wednesday. They are currently waiting to be extradited to the U.S.
The DOJ's investigation alleges that sports broadcast and marketing executives bribed FIFA officials with more than $150 million to secure broadcast rights for the World Cup. In the U.S., nine soccer officials and five corporate executives were arrested; four have already pleaded guilty.
Swiss officials are investigating how Russia and Qatar won their hosting bids.
Hours later, the Swiss Office of the Attorney General opened a separate, parallel investigation into the bidding process for the World Cups in Russia (2018) and Qatar (2022), both of which have been the subject of controversy ever since FIFA announced their successful bids.
Swiss authorities are questioning 10 FIFA executive committee members who served during the 2010 bidding process, but no one has been charged yet.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter was not arrested.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter was not arrested and does not face any charges, though he was investigated. "FIFA welcomes actions that can help contribute to rooting out any wrongdoing in football," the organization said in a statement.
Blatter is up for re-election soon.
Why is the U.S. involved?
The U.S.' involvement is reportedly due to the plots being carried out on U.S. soil, and with the billions of dollars that American networks paid to screen the World Cup, the wide reach of tax and banking regulations prop up their charges, CNN reported.
If it seems strange that the U.S. has brought FIFA to task, it at least deserves credit for shouldering the responsibility that so many others have decided to forgo.
Watch John Oliver's explanation of the extent of the organization's corruption from last year: