#2 – Loretta Lynch and the FIFA investigation

Photo from BBC News

“I don’t watch soccer games; it will be more thrilling instead to watch how FIFA, a vast criminal organization, will be brought to its knees.” – Nassim Taleb

This week, nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives were indicted after a five year long investigation headed by Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Lynch said FIFA officials took part in “rampant, systemic and deep rooted” corruption.

“In was in her role as district attorney that her involvement in the FIFA investigation began. Over the course of five years in Brooklyn – during which she weathered criticism for striking a deal with HSBC that spared the bank from criminal charges over money laundering – a case against the football officials was pieced together. She stood up at a press conference in New York on Wednesday and boldly accused Fifa officials of ‘abusing their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks.’ It was an extraordinary blow against an organization that is alleged to have got away with bribery and corruption for more than two decades.”

Lynch used her connections at the FBI and the IRS to bring together these long-awaited indictments. Lynch is definitely somebody who we’re going to be watching in the future, as she is now in the spotlight a lot more than she has been in the past (despite having already done a lot for our country and being a huge part of our legal system). She’s a very strong, smart woman to look up to, and we aren’t afraid to say we have a total girl crush on her, and we’re not the only ones!

“The pantheon of world soccer has a new hero,” said Politico’s Tunku Varadarajan. “To the names of Pele, Maradona, Cruyff and Messi, add another: Loretta Lynch. The US attorney general, confirmed by the Senate just three weeks ago by the most un-soccer-like score of 56-43, is destined to go down as the most consequential woman in the history of the game.”

Howler Magazine provides us with a good overview of the investigation and the international criminal charges.

This may be a big win for Lynch, but it is a huge blow to FIFA and the world of soccer (even though it hasn’t caught on in America despite David Beckham’s best efforts, it still is the most popular sport in the world). It’s not only a huge part of countless country’s cultural identities, but their economies as well.

“The world does not just play football—it watches it, bets on it, argues about it and spends money on it. The English Premier League (EPL) is broadcast in 212 territories, reaching 643m homes. Brand Finance, a consultancy, values Bayern Munich’s brand at $900m. The world’s 20 richest clubs made €5.4 billion ($7.4 billion) during the 2012-13 season, according to Deloitte, another consultancy. People do not just write books about the game, they write books about how it illuminates all manner of other things, such as ‘How Soccer Explains the World’ by Franklin Foer.”

This isn’t FIFA’s first publicized blow. Last Week Tonight’s John Oliver has exposed countless problems with the organization on his satirical HBO show last year.

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