Daily news roundups

FIFA arrests in Zurich, Union bits, HCI applies for state grant for new stadium, more

FIFA indictments

Swiss police arrested several senior FIFA officials in Zurich early this morning in cooperation with the US authorities after the US Department of Justice issued a 47-count indictment of nine FIFA officials and five sports marketing executives on charges of “racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies, among other offenses, in connection with the defendants’ participation in a 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer. ”

Among those arrested in Zurich were CONCACAF president and FIFA vice president Jeffrey Webb. Former CONCACAF president Jack Warner, who is among those indicted, released a statement that read in part, “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.”

Also among those listed in the indictment is Aaron Davidson, chairman of Traffic Sports USA and CEO of the NASL, of which Traffic is a primary investor.

Those arrested in Zurich now face extradition to the US.

The DOJ announcement also revealed four individual defendants and two corporate defendants have already plead guilty to charges, among them former CONCACAF general secretary and FIFA executive committee member Chuck Blazer, and Daryll Warner, son of former CONCACAF president Jack Warner. Also pleading guilty were José Hawilla, “the owner and founder of the Traffic Group, a multinational sports marketing conglomerate headquartered in Brazil; and two of Hawilla’s companies, Traffic Sports International Inc. and Traffic Sports USA Inc., which is based in Florida.”

A search warrant was also executed at CONCACAF’s headquarters in Miami early this morning.

The Department of Justice press release says the indictment spans criminal activity beginning in 1991:

Two generations of soccer officials abused their positions of trust for personal gain, frequently through an alliance with unscrupulous sports marketing executives who shut out competitors and kept highly lucrative contracts for themselves through the systematic payment of bribes and kickbacks. 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 of the sports marketing executives who agreed to make the unlawful payments.

Most of the schemes alleged in the indictment relate to the solicitation and receipt of bribes and kickbacks by soccer officials from sports marketing executives in connection with the commercialization of the media and marketing rights associated with various soccer matches and tournaments, including FIFA World Cup qualifiers in the CONCACAF region, the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the CONCACAF Champions League, the jointly organized CONMEBOL/CONCACAF Copa América Centenario, the CONMEBOL Copa América, the CONMEBOL Copa Libertadores and the Copa do Brasil, which is organized by the Brazilian national soccer federation (CBF). Other alleged schemes relate to the payment and receipt of bribes and kickbacks in connection with the sponsorship of CBF by a major U.S. sportswear company, the selection of the host country for the 2010 World Cup and the 2011 FIFA presidential election.

The US-based investigation has been underway for at least three years.

Acting U.S. Attorney Kelly T. Currie said in the DOJ statement, “Today’s announcement should send a message that enough is enough. After decades of what the indictment alleges to be brazen corruption, organized international soccer needs a new start – a new chance for its governing institutions to provide honest oversight and support of a sport that is beloved across the world, increasingly so here in the United States. Let me be clear: this indictment is not the final chapter in our investigation.”

The Office of the Attorney General in Switzerland released a statement saying it had “opened criminal proceedings against persons unknown on suspicion of criminal mismanagement and of money laundering in connection with the allocation of the 2018 and 2022 Football World Cups.”

The Swiss Federal Office of Justice also announced it had “ordered the blocking of accounts at several banks in Switzerland through which bribes are claimed to have flowed as well as the seizure of related bank documents.”

The AP reports that Russia’s Minister for Sports Vitaly Mutko said, ”we’ve got nothing to hide.”

FIFA said in a statement that it “welcomes actions that can help contribute to rooting out any wrongdoing in football,” and noted it is cooperating with Swiss officials.

However, the New York Times reported a FIFA spokesman Walter de Gregorio said “the organization would not consider reopening the bid process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.”

De Gregorio also said the FIFA congress, and Friday’s presidential election, will go ahead as planned. The Guardian reports De Gregorio said Sepp Blatter “was feeling ‘relaxed’ about the day’s developments because he was ‘not involved in them at all,’ before clarifying: ‘Well he is not dancing in his office. He is very calm, he is fully co-operative with everything. That’s what I meant. He’s not a happy man, saying wow wow.'” (Emphasis in the original).

De Gregorio then clarified, “Russia and Qatar will be played, this is fact today. I can’t go into speculation about what will happen tomorrow.”

Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, Blatter’s rival for the FIFA presidency, tweeted, “FIFA needs leadership that governs, guides and protects our national associations,” adding, “Leadership that accepts responsibility for its actions and does not pass blame.”

Reuters reported, “Qatar’s stock market fell sharply on Wednesday after Swiss authorities opened criminal proceedings against individuals on suspicion of mismanagement and money laundering related to the award of rights to host the 2018 and 2022 soccer World Cups.”

More on this developing story at the New York Timesthe GuardianReuters, and the AP. Background articles here and here. Early analysis at ESPN.

Philadelphia Union

Brian Sylvestre, on loan to the Union from NASL side Carolina RailHawks, has been recalled by Carolina for their third round US Open Cup match against USL side Charlotte Independence. A statement from the Union said, “Sylvestre will be back with the Union Thursday and will be available for selection ahead of the team’s match on Saturday against D.C. United.” If Sylvestre appears for Carolina in tonight’s game, and he is expected to, he will not be eligible for the Union in US Open Cup play.

Chris Albright said of Sylvestre’s future with the Union, “He’s done well; we’re going to keep our options open. But if he’s in goal and we’re getting zeroes, he’s somebody we’d like to keep around.”

Sylvestre, who is up for Save of the Week, was also named to MLS soccer.com’s Team of the Week, along with Fabinho, with Jim Curtin as coach. Receiving an honorable mention was Vincent Nogueira. Fabinho and Nogueira were both named to the Team of the Week at Goal.com.

Jim Curtin’s weekly press conference is scheduled to take place today at 12:30 pm.

Ray Gaddis, who sprained his left ankle in the win over DC United on May 17, returned to training with the team on Tuesday “in limited role that saw him participate in movement and passing drills before doing some light jogging.”

Also returning to the team was Fernando Aristeguieta, who was released from the Venezuela national team on Saturday. The new Behind the Crest blog on the Union website notes, “The team cheered and clapped when Fernando jogged onto the field from the locker room.”

The latest injury report from the league website:

OUT: GK Andre Blake (right knee meniscectomy recovery, out 4-6 weeks)
OUT: M Michael Lahoud (right quad tear 5/2, out 4-6 weeks)
D Steven Vitoria (left hamstring strain, DNP 5/23)
F Antoine Hoppenot (left hamstring strain, DNP 5/23)
D Raymon Gaddis (left ankle sprain, DNP 5/23)
F Conor Casey (injury)

The Union’s road foe this Saturday is DC United, who happen to be playing in Portland tonight (10:30 pm, MLS Live) after drawing on the road with New England over the weekend. Black and Red United notes, “After the New England Revolution game, D.C. United sent Michael Farfan, Davy Arnaud, and Chris Rolfe back to Washington.” Clearly, the team is prioritizing Saturday’s in-conference game in resting such integral starters.

The officials for Saturday’s game in DC: Referee: Ted Unkel; Linesmen: Jeff Muschik, James Conlee; Fourth Official: Kevin Terry Jr.

The Union move up one spot to No. 19 in MLSsoccer.com’s power rankings. Same at SBI. At Soccer America, they advance two spots to No. 18.

Late recaps from Sunday’s win over New York Red Bulls at Metro and Main Line Media News.


Harrisburg City Islanders host fellow USL side Rochester Rhinos tonight at 7 pm in the third round of the US Open Cup. Rochester Democrat & Chronicle has a preview of the game. The winner of tonight’s game will face the Philadelphia Union at PPL park on June 16 at 7:30 pm.

Harrisburg City Islanders announced on Tuesday that it has applied for a $5 million Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grant from the state’s Office of the Budget to build a new stadium on City Island, which is the location of the team’s current home, Skyline Sports Complex. The announcement notes that, despite the team’s many achievements on the field and reputations as one of the best run teams in USL, “the City Islanders are notorious for having one of the worst stadiums in the league.”

The statement continues,

Due to the tightening of standards for the USL and the increased collaboration with the MLS, without the construction of a new stadium on City Island, the Harrisburg City Islanders will be forced to move to another location which may be outside of Central Pennsylvania.

More at PennLive.

Registration is now open for the Drexel men’s team’s summer ID camp.

The Penn women’s team has announced its incoming class.

Six Eastern Pennsylvania teams won championships at the 2015 US Youth Soccer Region I Presidents Cup. The winners advance to the US Youth Soccer National Presidents Cup in Overland, Kansas, July 9-12.

Brotherly Game talks to Christine Meinhart-Fritz, director of the Monroe County Planning Commission, about the proposal to build a new National Soccer Hall of Fame facility in the Poconos.


Former USMNT defender Oguchi Onyewu is on a two-week trial with NYCFC.

John Terry to MLS?

At MinnPost, more on efforts by Minnesota United to secure tax breaks for their proposed new stadium.


The US U-23 MNT faces France today in their opening game at the Toulon Tournament (beIN Sports, beIN Sports en Espanol, beIN Sports Connect, Fubo TV). Goal.com has a look at the US team.

Fox Sports previews the US group at the Women’s World Cup, which includes Australia, Nigeria, and Sweden.

Former USWNT forward Kristine Lilly on what it will take for the US to win the Women’s World Cup.


Reuters reports, “Four out of five soccer fans believe Sepp Blatter should not be standing for a fifth term as FIFA president, according to a survey conducted by anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International.” 83 percent of “35,000 supporters in 30 countries” said Blatter should not stand. 69 percent of those surveyed said they had no confidence in FIFA. Of the remaining 31 percent, 17 percent said they were confident in the organization, and 14 percent said they were unsure.

Following today’s breaking news from Switzerland, Transparency International said in a statement, “Sepp Blatter must now stand down and upcoming presidential elections suspended.”

Speaking before his arrest on Wednesday, CONCACAF president Jeffrey Web said of FIFA presidential candidate Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein’s proposal to increase the number of World Cup sports from 32 to 36 if elected beginning with the 2018 World Cup, “‘The World Cup is a jewel of football and, for me, you shouldn’t increase the spaces in a World Cup for political reasons. You should increase the spaces in the World Cup because of the development of the game. Are we going to dilute the World Cup to appease various associations?”

You will recall that Luis Figo referred to Sepp Blatter as a dictator when he withdrew from the FIFA presidential race last week. Blatter said of the remark, “Luis Figo is free to say what he wants to say. He is a free man, he is a footballer. I have received so many titles but I still have the title of FIFA president at least until six o’clock on Friday.”

The Guardian reports, “Nepalese workers building stadiums for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar have been denied leave to attend funerals or visit relatives following the earthquakes in the Himalayan country that have killed more than 8,000 people, its government has revealed.”

At Reuters, more on the Palestine Football Association’s efforts to have Israel suspended from FIFA.

On Tuesday, CONCACAF signed Memorandums of Understanding with the Asian Football Confederation and CONMEBOL to formalize “the ongoing cooperation between CONCACAF and these football governing bodies” and to establish “a framework to provide and receive technical and administrative support.”

Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk faces Sevilla in the Europa League final in Warsaw today (2:45 pm: Fox Sports 1, ESPN Deportes, Fox Soccer 2Go). Goal.com looks at how Dnipro has united wartorn Ukraine.


  1. Now John Terry.
    Something’s fishy. How many of these players are thinking to themselves in europe, “sweet…..one more killer payday.”
    There are certain things I keep coming back to on this blog, this being one….
    Something’s fishy.

    • pragmatist says:

      As long as teams will offer them money, players will continue to take it. And if you’re in their shoes, would you say no? Someone’s going to pay you $5M/year to play at slower pace and at an easier level than you’ve seen since you were an Academy product.

      Until the level of MLS rises to the point that these guys are not needed on any team at the salary that they command, this will continue.

      • I understand fully.
        I have no problem with them coming. It’s the payday driving this and that is what has it fishy.
        You think John Terry would come to MLS for 350K-600K? Not likely.

      • If you think that Chelsea’s academy team is the same standard as MLS, you are sorely mistaken.

    • alicat215 says:

      How many?….ALL of them! Again, Stevie G: 18 months=$6 million!

    • With the growth of MLS and the money (Not in Philly…Yet)it’s not surprising. I can seen in 5-10 years MLS being the destination for young stars not just the Steven Gerard’s John Terry’s…etc. I also see in 5-10 years young American stars choosing to stay in MLS. I think the coaching pool is going to be expanded for top coaches to choose MLS. Today of course there will be people who are going to say never happen. Those same people mostly soccer snobs didn’t see MLS being around for 20+ years either. The “Eurosnobs” talk down about MLS but Sky Sports and other international media are competing to televise games, so there is growing interest. I’m hoping with the growth of our league owners like Sugarman will be forced to step up or sell. The Union need soccer money people but they also need competent soccer money people. Philadelphia is a vital market for MLS.


  2. Must say that I don’t think anyone is surprised by what’s going down with FIFA. What’s shocking is some of the headlines by all of the pseudo media outlets worldwide calling it a “shocking scandal,” really? Once again the bloviating jackass Blatter is somehow not among the arrested. THAT should be a HEADLINE! Moving on I am pissed at the pretentious BS artists at MLS goal of the week for not including the goal by Noguiera. Props to the overwhelming backlash in the comments section!
    What I’m now hoping for is to finally have a Union 18 and starting 11 that is healthy, off suspension, and not arrested for anything.

    Sell this franchise to a competent and financially competitive owner!!


    • i don’t think sepp is feeling too comfortable right now. they scooped a pretty large collection of high level cronies and i would not put money on them keeping their mouths shut about blatter when they are facing twenty years in prison

    • pragmatist says:

      They will get Blatter. When they pinch a bunch of other people and threaten them with decades in prison, they’ll get people to roll, just like Chuck Blazer. They don’t want to go after him until the case is air-tight, but they had to make a splash before the election.

      • Yup, the US Attorney General isn’t going to start this process unless they think that they can land the white whale (aka Blatter).

    • I am so truly impressed with the word bloating.
      Someone commented yesterday about the US getting involved. Does this constitute the US getting involved?
      We are the world over, half of which detests us, yet only the US has the wherewithal and the funds to follow this to its necessary conclusion.

      • Bloviating. My computer refused to acknowledge it.

      • Yeah, that was me that said the US wouldn’t get involved. Missed it by that much.

      • alicat215 says:

        Things are only, at least, attempted the right way….when the US gets involved! We now feel comfortable enough to dictate the world’s game….thats all. As we should! You want something done right in this screwed up world….the United States is still your best option! The eurosnob/ psuedo-progressive hipsters who think everything is done better across the pond….can go to hell, they don’t really know what the hell they are talking about anyway…its all fashion with those people anyhow….no substance, no real clue on footy!

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        “The right way.” Europe from Germany west, and it’s three continental descendants, Australia, North America and South America all come out of three major cultural roots: Judeo-Christian, Greco-Roman, and Teutonic. The rest of the world considered on a continental scale does not.
        What is bribery and corruption in Western Civilization, aka the civilization developed in the drainage basin of the North Atlantic Ocean, is NOT considered wrong necessarily in civilizations descended from other major cultural roots. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries western standards were imposed on some of those world areas.
        Hence “the right way” is subject to different interpretation. Nobody condones vote buying. But gift-giving is de rigeur in a Confician society, in ways that are inappropriate in this one.

      • alicat215 says:

        Thanks for the obvious…and condescending view of world affairs you give OSC. Yes, the West carved that part of the world up for hundreds of years for exploitation…..AND? You sound like another liberal apologist who thinks everything is the Wests fault……sorry, people aren’t buying that crap anymore, its 2015! That part of the world is the last to embrace globalization, they don’t want it…….. but, its going to happen one way or the other! I don’t need a history lesson from the likes of you dude……I have a dual bachelors in history and political science! Go stick to your commie core………where kids aren’t learning a damn thing!

  3. Andy Muenz says:

    That answers the question of whether Sylvestre can play for the Union in the Open Cup. Any chance the Union would be able to recall MacMath from Colorado just for Open Cup play since it is not an MLS sanctioned event?

  4. alicat215 says:

    I can see World Cup 2018 in Russia, but I still can’t see WC 2022 in Qatar…………..

    • I’m feeling a glimmer of hope. Between the European leagues switching schedules, the players who aren’t going to want to take that break, the 4000 dead workers, no sponsors wanting to touch that, the U.S. advertisers having no interest to compete with the end of the NFL season, and the Qatari stock market taking a dive today, let’s hope it gets fixed. I don’t care if it’s not in the US, but not there.

      • alicat215 says:

        at this short of a notice…there are only a few countries with the infrastructure to handle it……..US, UK, Germany, maybe France…….thats really it!

      • John Ling says:

        What’s the stadium situation in Japan? Would that be an option? Australia?

      • alicat215 says:

        They did a great job when they hosted with South Korea. The time of the matches SUCKED though…..2am…..4am kick offs………rough, especially if you wanted to tie one on!

    • pragmatist says:

      As this ball continues to roll downhill, the drumbeat for boycotts from the major European countries will get louder and louder.

      Imagine a WC without England, Italy, France, Germany, Spain…

    • I can see the Cup in Russia at risk, if Putin keeps up his idea of trying to get the band back together, and invades a few more sovereign nations.

      • alicat215 says:

        careful man….he scored 8 goals in a hockey game last week!

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        If the opposing goalie knows I can send his uncles, aunts nieces and nephews, to say nothing of nearer relatives, to prison in a system that runs on the principle, “you have been Arrested, you must be guilty,” and “the security ‘Organs’ do not make mistakes,” i could score eight goals, and I don’t ice skate.

      • alicat215 says:

        OSC……are you that freaking old and miserable that you can’t spot a joke? I suggest you up your milligrams on your meds……….or again, try crossword puzzles….I heard they help too…..

  5. The 17% that said they’re confident in FIFA must’ve been bribed. The 14% that were unsure are probably holding out for more money. If they need more proof, they can read this article about how the city that will host the 2022 final doesn’t yet exist yet. Not just a subway, or airport or rail-line, the literal city doesn’t exist. If “let’s give the World Cup to a country who hasn’t even built its cities yet but is sitting on billions of dollars of oil over a country who could host simultaneous World Cups in each time zone and be ready in a month” doesn’t scream corruption, then give me a call!

    • The shimmering new city shall be called, Elmirage.

    • Wow, thanks for that info. Amazing stuff. I unfortunately will not be planning any trips to Elmirage, though it does sound lovely

    • alicat215 says:

      At the current rate, hell….ISIS could own Qatar by 2022! Keep the Cup away from that screwed up part of the world. I don’t know of a single person who wants to go to that. Brazil…booked years in advance, Germany…booked years in advance, Japan/S.Korea….same. I even know people contemplating Russia, no one wants to go to Qatar!

      • There is nothing. no thing. alluring about playing there. Maybe they have oil and money in that part of the world… but not a whole hell of a lot to attract otherwise.
        Am I biased? Bet your ass. 2022 World Cup was stolen from us.

      • alicat215 says:

        f#%k that sandbox! I don’t care how much money or flash they have….that part of the world sucks on many levels! Many levels!

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Well facts are facts. You made a good point: “There is nothing. no thing. alluring about playing there.” One thing that always struck me as “HELLO, CORRUPTION!” was when they promised to NOT interrupt the European schedule and build state of the art facilities with air conditioning because it’ll be 130 degrees… and then literally was like – NAH, forget that. We aren’t going to do any of that. Completely and utterly disgraceful.

      • You’re not biased, they got the Cup because of money, simple as that. As I stated the city isn’t built, so how can they argue “the cities are beautiful, the infrastructure is solid, great place to visit!” I can go to Wildwood and see a bunch of sand and it’s not 108 degrees there. I would settle for Dubai, but that’s it for that part of the country.

      • I don’t want to sound pedantic, but I’m pretty sure Dubai is in the United Arab Emirates, not Qatar. Near Qatar, but not Qatar.

        So to reemphasize your overall point…nothing attractive in Qatar.

      • alicat215 says:

        THANK YOU! Dubai and Abu Dabi are in the UAE…….different friggin counrty!

  6. OneManWolfpack says:

    De Gregorio then clarified, “Russia and Qatar will be played, this is fact today. I can’t go into speculation about what will happen tomorrow.” — That is an important statement. The door has been cracked open, we are trying to stick our foot in. This is a good start.
    Hope you hear the footsteps Sepp…

  7. I have to say very proud to be an American today. It’s about time somebody, somewhere started going after FIFA. Kudos to the Attorney General’s Office and the FBI. I hope they can follow up these indictments with actual convictions.

  8. Full indictment document can be found here: http://www.mediaite.com/online/read-the-dept-of-justices-full-fifa-indictment-here/
    On page 76 it is mentioned that a US Multinational sportswear company was involved as well. Lots of speculation that it is Nike.

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