FIFA President Sepp Blatter arrives attends a media briefing to discuss the Confederations Cup and the latest preparations for next year's World Cup finals in Brazil, in Rio de Janeiro July 1, 2013. (Photo : REUTERS/Sergio Moraes (BRAZIL - Tags: SPORT SOCCER))
Don't blame Sepp Blatter for corruption within the beautiful game. He's just as surprised as anyone that 14 high-ranking FIFA executives could be indicted on bribery and racketeering charges.
Speaking at the annual congress of FIFA member in Zurich, Blatter made his first public comments since Swiss authorities - at the request of the United States Department of Justice - arrested nine officials and five corporate executives early Wednesday morning.
"The events of yesterday have cast a long shadow over football and over this week's Congress," Blatter told the audience, many who will vote for his re-election Friday. "Actions of individuals, if proven, bring shame and humiliation on football and demand action and change from us all."
Indicted officials include CONCACAF president Jack Warner, FIFA vice president Jeffrey Webb, and CONMEBOL vice president Eugenio Figueredo among numerous members representing American federations. DOJ officials announced soon after that four other individuals had already pled guilty.
Corruption "has to stop here and now," Blatter added, omitting the fact that he was inaugurated under similar scrutiny in 1998. Scrutiny has followed the billion-dollar organization since former governing body Joao Havelange commercialized the regional sport into a lucrative phenomenon some 41 years ago.
To trace where illegal activity starter one must go back to the summer of 1974 when Havelange was elected as FIFA's seventh president.
According to football historian David Goldblatt, Havelange, ADIDAS chief executive officer Horst Dassler, and marketer Patrick Nally create the template for modern sport sponsorship. They approach broad-reaching companies that fill different advertising segments to be official World Cup sponsors. In return, FIFA gets complete control over advertising, stadium use, and TV rights.
Money made from TV and sponsorship deals would then go a third-party marketing company, which eventually became Dassler-owned International Sports and Leisure.
Coca-Cola becomes FIFA's first major sponsor. ISL begins making off-the-book payments to FIFA executives.
June 25, 1982
Needing a one or two-goal win for both clubs to advance into the World Cup's second round, West Germany defeated Austria 1-0 in what many consider the first instance of match-fixing in the modern era.
Deemed "the shame of Gijón," viewers scorned both squads for lackluster play following the first and only goal. Crowds inside Spain's El Molinón stadium chanted "out, out" at the players, and one television commentator damned the whole match, saying "What's happened here is disgraceful and has nothing to do with football."
Odd man out Algeria filed a protest, but no rules were technically broken. Two years later, FIFA would alter group play so all matches occurred simultaneously.
Havelange and his former son-in-law Ricardo Teixeira are accused of pocketing millions in bribes from World Cup sponsorship deals. Blatter, then serving as secretary general, is exonerated of any wrongdoing, despite evidence that he wired 1.5 million Swiss francs to Havelange.
June 8, 1998
Blatter succeeds Havelange amid bribery allegations. In Foul!, investigative sports journalist Andrew Jennings says Qatar paid African delegates $50,000 each to vote for Blatter over UEFA president Lennart Johansson shortly before the World Cup in France. Johansson was seen as incorruptible and averse to Havelange's methods.
Blatter, who continues to deny the claims, won by a 111-80 vote.
Jan. 22, 1999
Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reports that Havelange illegally accepted diamonds, paintings, art, and bicycles in connection with Amsterdam's bid for the 1992 Summer Olympics.
FIFA adopts their first code of ethics, applied by their own ethics commission.
Warner, then FIFA vice president, is investigated for $900,000 in commission his family business received and millions made selling World Cup tickets. FIFA'S Ethics Committee only finds evidence against his son and issues Warner a warning.
May 14, 2010
Nearly a dozen countries, including the U.S. and England, present official bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. FIFA announces inspections will take place between July and September.
May 16, 2010
David Triesman is fired as head of England's 2018 bid after a secret recording surfaces in which he talks accuses Spain and Russia of bribing World Cup referees.
Britain's Sunday Times reporters posing as American lobbyists videotape Nigeria's Amos Adamu and Tahiti's Reynald Temarii asking thousands of dollars in exchange for World Cup votes. Three days before the vote, the BBC exposes three current ExCo members of taking bribes from ISL in the 90s.
Six FIFA officials, including Adamu and Temarii, are suspended for selling their votes. Adamu received a three-year band and Temarii a 12-month ban. Teixeira, Nicolas Leoz of Paraguay, and Issa Hayatou of Cameroon are revealed to be the officials in the BBC's report but little action is taken on FIFA's part, given that bribery is not punishable under Swiss law.
December 2, 2010
Russia and Qatar are given rights to 2018 and 2022 World Cups, despite larger bids and more adequate stadiums house by other countries. FIFA officials admitted that conditions in Qatar would be considered a potential health risk for players.
May 10, 2011
Triesman submits evidence to the Sunday Times of corruption within the ranks. Under cover of parliamentary privilege, he names Warner, Teixeira, and Leoz as executive committee members who sold their votes.
May 29, 2011
Mohammad bin Hammam of Qatar, the only viable candidate to displace Blatter as president, was suspended amid FIFA's internal corruption investigation. Two days earlier, Hammam claimed Blatter knew about votes he was buying during the 2022 World Cup bidding process.
He is banned for life two months later.
June 1, 2011
Blatter wins a fourth term as the English FA's last-second request to delay the vote goes unanswered.
Dec. 4, 2011
Days before an ethics investigation is set to begin, Havelange steps down as a member of the International Olympic Committee. The IOC Ethics Committee said they would have suspended Havelange's membership for two years after finding he received a $1 million bribe from ISL.
March 30, 2012
FIFA splits its ethics committee into two entities, one for investigation allegations and another to judge them.
April 24, 2012
The Council of Europe releases a damning report into how FIFA handles bribery and racketeering allegations. They find it hard to believe Blatter was completely unaware of significant sums of money being exchanged.
July 17, 2012
Blatter tasks U.S. attorney Michael J. Garcia and German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert with investigating corruption allegations.
January 9, 2013
FIFA serves 41 Korean players with lifetime bans for match-fixing activities during K-League competition in 2011.
February 4, 2013
A Europol investigation finds that 380 matches across Europe were rigged by an Asian crime syndicate. People are arrested across 15 countries.
April 30, 2013
Blatter is cleared in the bribery scandal, but Havelange, Teixeira, and Leoz were found to have accepted ISL money from 1992-2000.
May 6, 2013
Former CONCACAF general secretary Chuck Blazer is suspended for violating FIFA's code of conduct. U.S. While DOJ officials charged Blazer pled guilty to racketeering, money laundering, tax evasion, and wire fraud, he is credited with helping the agency bring Wednesday's charges against FIFA executives.
December 4, 2014
Garcia resigns as chairman of FIFA's ethic committee after the organization refuses to release his full corruption investigation. Garcia's complaints about the World Cup bidding process go unheard as they decide to release a heavily retracted version of his findings.
May 27, 2015
Swiss authorities raid FIFA's Zurich headquarters following the DOJ's unsealing of a 47-count indictment against the organization. They contend that bribery, racketeering, wire fraud, and money laundering has total $150 million over the last 24 years.