Swiss authorities this week arrested seven top officials of FIFA, the governing body of international soccer, on allegations of a racketeering, money laundering and wire fraud conspiracy that’s been ongoing for the past 24 years. Wednesday night, Jon Stewart speculated about what took so fucking long.
The FBI’s corruption investigation began in earnest in 2011, with the cooperation of an American FIFA exec, but it took until now to affect any arrests. That may have something to do with the results of FIFA’s internal investigation into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups—the organization exonerated itself in November despite the objections of the lead investigator.
Perhaps the revelation that FIFA officials allegedly took (and paid) millions in bribes will prompt a reexamination of the process that awarded Russia and Qatar the next two World Cups? Naaaah.
“When we get bribed, we stay bribed,” as Stewart puts it.
Still, it’s pretty amazing how quickly the Justice Department was able to act when the U.S. got screwed out of a huge, global sporting event, considering that we’re still waiting for even one of the bankers responsible for the financial crisis to face criminal charges.