Let John Oliver Break Down Why the Latest FIFA Corruption Scandal Is Such a Big Deal

Source: YouTube
Source: YouTube

Seven FIFA officials were arrested in Switzerland at the request of the United States after being indicted for corruption and racketeering, when their five-star hotel Baur au Lac in Zurich was raided at dawn Wednesday.

"The indictment alleges corruption that is rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted both abroad and here in the United States," Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said while announcing the 47 indictments against the defendants Wednesday morning in a Brooklyn, New York, federal court. "All told, the soccer officials are charged with conspiring to solicit and receive well over $150 million in bribes and kickbacks in exchange for their official support," the release read.

The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland has also launched an investigation "on suspicion of criminal mismanagement and of money laundering in connection with the allocation of the 2018 and 2022 Football World Cups. In the course of the proceedings, electronic data and documents were seized FIFA's head office in Zurich," according to a statement by Swiss authorities.

FIFA said they were "fully cooperating with the investigation" in their own official statement released after the arrests. 

Why is FIFA so bad? In the words of Last Week Tonight host John Oliver in June 2014, "FIFA is a comically grotesque organization." 

Source: Mic/YouTube

As Oliver notes, FIFA is exempt from taxes at every level, and the profits from the World Cup finals all go to FIFA rather than the host country. For example, in the last World Cup, Brazil allowed FIFA to take approximately $250 million they should have paid in taxes. 

Source: Mic /YouTube

In another example of institutionalized corruption, FIFA demanded Brazil pass a bill which overturned the ban on alcohol sale in football stadiums after a spike in sports-related violence and deaths. It was branded the "Budweiser bill" as FIFA's insistence on overturning the law was fueled by one of their main sponsors ... you guessed it, Budweiser. 

Source: Mic/YouTube

Tax exemption and the "Budweiser bill" are examples of FIFA's institutionalized corruption. Oliver doesn't even begin to get into the murky world of racketeering and bribing, which is allegedly commonplace with FIFA officials. It is still yet to be seen if the arrested defendants become scapegoats for FIFA or if these investigations lead to a fundamental change in the way the organization it run.

Source: YouTube

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Natasha Noman

Natasha is a News Staff Writer covering global affairs. She previously reported on regional affairs from Pakistan. Natasha is based in New York and can be reached at natasha@mic.com.

MORE FROM

Will Justice Anthony Kennedy retire at end of Supreme Court term? Here's what we know.

Rumors that the 80-year-old swing justice may leave the bench are fueling fear of a second Trump pick on the nation's high court.

3 states and D.C. allow same flammable building materials behind Grenfell Tower fire

The causes of London's Grenfell Tower are similar to the justifications used to waive fire regulations in the U.S.

New Jersey bill would require kids to be taught how to interact with police

Students from kindergarten through 12th grade would receive the education.

UK Parliament hit with cyberattack

Members of Parliament had difficulty accessing their emails Saturday in the wake of the attack.

Istanbul LGBT pride march banned by government for safety concerns

A right-wing nationalist group has vowed to stop the protest.

Compounds seized by US in December reportedly contained material useful in Russia probe

The Trump administration has reportedly been considering returning the New York and Maryland compounds to Russia.

Will Justice Anthony Kennedy retire at end of Supreme Court term? Here's what we know.

Rumors that the 80-year-old swing justice may leave the bench are fueling fear of a second Trump pick on the nation's high court.

3 states and D.C. allow same flammable building materials behind Grenfell Tower fire

The causes of London's Grenfell Tower are similar to the justifications used to waive fire regulations in the U.S.

New Jersey bill would require kids to be taught how to interact with police

Students from kindergarten through 12th grade would receive the education.

UK Parliament hit with cyberattack

Members of Parliament had difficulty accessing their emails Saturday in the wake of the attack.

Istanbul LGBT pride march banned by government for safety concerns

A right-wing nationalist group has vowed to stop the protest.

Compounds seized by US in December reportedly contained material useful in Russia probe

The Trump administration has reportedly been considering returning the New York and Maryland compounds to Russia.