Roger Goodell has been taking a beating for the better part of the last year for the NFL’s chronic mishandling of controversies, including players charged with domestic abuse, drug use, and the growing number of retired athletes dying early from the effects of concussions suffered playing football.
But no NFL officials have been hauled off in cuffs like the 14 people, including nine FIFA officials, who were arrested Wednesday at the request of the U.S. Department of Justice on charges including racketeering, fraud, and money laundering as part of an FBI investigation.
“These individuals and organizations engaged in bribery to decide who would televise games, where the games would be held, and who would run the organization overseeing organized soccer,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch told the NY Times.
The DOJ alleges that soccer officials accepted tens of millions of dollars in bribes in exchange for media deals connected with major soccer tournaments like the World Cup. In one instance, a FIFA official is said to have received a briefcase filled with cash in exchange for recommending the 2010 World Cup be held in South Africa.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter is yet to be implicated in the ongoing investigation, but say what you want about Goodell, nothing of this scope has transpired under his watch. And while he’s taken his just share of heat recently, it unfortunately comes with the territory as the head of a major sport. Here’s a look at the men who looked the other way while their ships ran aground, and a few who steered their leagues right into the rocks.
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