Feds looking into corruption charges against FIFA as outrage over World Cup bids grows
By RYAN GORMAN
Federal officials are reportedly moving to bring corruption charges against FIFA, soccer's global governing body.
The FBI's New York field office is nearing the end of a three-year investigation into the 2018 Russia and 2022 Qatar World Cup bidding processes, according to a CNN report.
This news comes only hours after FIFA investigators cleared the organization of any wrongdoing despite growing outrage over how both World Cups were awarded.
Sources told the cable news network that at least one ex-FIFA official has provided investigators recordings of meetings and documents detailing the alleged corruption.
A previous New York Daily News report cited by CNN names the cooperator as former FIFA official Chuck Blazer. He declined comment when reached by the network.
Soccer's governing body, based in Switzerland, has been the subject of multiple investigations after authorities in multiple countries called into question how Qatar and Russia won their respective World Cup bids.
FIFA hired its own investigators to look into the matter, but they found nothing wrong, according to a 40-page statement posted online Thursday by the organization.
"FIFA welcomes the fact that a degree of closure has been reached," FIFA said in the statement. "As such, FIFA looks forward to continuing the preparations for Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022, which are already well underway."
Robert Garcia, a former federal prosecutor from New York hired by FIFA to head the probe, lashed out against the group just hours later in comments to the New York Daily News.
"I intend to appeal this decision to the FIFA Appeal Committee," Garcia told the paper, adding that his findings were "mischaracterized" and the statement "contains numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts and [his] conclusions."
FIFA instead chose to cast aspersions on the committees who submitted losing bids in the 2010 vote but appeared to compliment the Russian and Qatari bids.
"The various incidents which might have occurred are not suited to compromise the integrity of the FIFA World Cup 2018/2022 bidding process as a whole," FIFA concluded. But the organization "can and must improve the bidding process," he added.
No details were offered by FIFA as to how it intends to improve the process.
Previously published reports suggested the head of Qatar's bidding team bribed at least one FIFA official with a $1 million payment to his son.
An AOL News call to the FBI's New York field office appeared to blindside an agency spokesperson who demanded to know where the reports were coming from and then declined to comment before abruptly ending the call.
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