I guess it helped a little that some of the FBI agents investigating corruption within the ranks of FIFA were football fans.
But, regardless, the shameless disregard for the sport and abuse of power by those responsible for “governing” the game were only going to go unnoticed for so long.
That it took the FBI – American law enforcement – to be the agency that finally took on an investigation when no one else did deserves some kudos.
Historically, the FBI has had a great deal of success in disrupting organized crime and so-called mafias – so the challenge presented by FIFA’s clans and cliques is not beyond their expertise and is probably a very good fit.
“It’s shaping up like a major case,” one law enforcement official told Reuters.
In other words, the FBI is not pursuing this for fun.
This could also be uncomfortable for FIFA who, according to the Reuters report, had no knowledge of the FBI investigation. They might want to improve their own intelligence gathering services because many other individuals within the game were (and are) well aware of it (including this modest little blog).
According to the Reuters report, Daryan Warner is one individual who has agreed to be a cooperating witness in the FBI investigation. The name should ring a bell. That’s because he’s Jack Warner’s son. That’s Jack Warner, the former FIFA Executive Committee member who is now – wait for it – the Minister of National Security in Trinidad and Tobago.
Pro tip: Daryan, no one becomes a “cooperating witness” for fun.
One FBI squad looking into the case specializes in “Eurasian Organized Crime”. That’s how the FBI describes criminal enterprises in Central Europe and the former Soviet Union.
Think about that.
Without getting too X-Files, there’s possibly more to this than we have ever imagined. And it’s real. And it’s serious.
What’s possibly odder is that the parties being investigated thought that they could so brazenly get away with it so shamelessly and for so long.
Even odder – people let them get away with it. National associations turned a blind eye. With that inaction, they can be held to be complicit.
Here’s an entertaining account by the indefatigable Andrew Jennings of his perspective of the FBI investigation and its implications.