FIFA officials arrested on corruption charges Martin Rogers and Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY Sports 7:42 a.m. EDT May 27, 2015 (Photo: AFP) 19 COMMENTEMAIL NEW YORK — Federal prosecutors allege that "two generations of soccer officials" used partnerships with sports marketing executives to solicit $150 million in bribes and kickbacks in exchange for, among other things, their support for the sites of FIFA World Cup events, from qualifiers to the 2010 World Cup. A 47-count federal indictment was unsealed in Brooklyn, charging 14 high-ranking FIFA officials with racketeering, wire fraud, money laundering and other charges in connection with a near quarter-century scheme to enrich themselves through their management of the sport. With soccer officials from all over the world congregating in Zurich this week to attend the annual FIFA Congress, Swiss authorities arrested six suspects charged in the indictment. Federal investigators were also conducting a search at CONCACAF headquarters in Miami. "The indictment alleges corruption that is rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted both abroad and here in the United States," U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a release ahead of a news conference New York. According to court documents, nine of the defendants were FIFA officials, as well as officials of one or more other bodies "It spans at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks," Lynch said. "And it has profoundly harmed a multitude of victims, from the youth leagues and developing countries that should benefit from the revenue generated by the commercial rights these organizations hold, to the fans at home and throughout the world whose support for the game makes those rights valuable.'' The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) said the criminal proceedings are against "persons unknown on suspicion of criminal mismanagement and of money laundering" related to the successful bidders. The U.S. missed out on hosting rights for the 2022 tournament, with Qatar prevailing in the final round of voting by 14 to eight back in 2010. The OAG said computers and documents were seized at FIFA's offices in Zurich. FIFA is world soccer's governing body. During a press conference, FIFA said it is cooperating with the investigation but otherwise quickly ruled out re-voting on where to hold the tournament that is watched by tens of millions of people around the world, and that takes place every four years. "FIFA welcomes actions that can help contribute to rooting out any wrongdoing in football," it said in a statement. Earlier Wednesday, FIFA was also rocked by a dramatic scandal involving nine FIFA officials and five FIFA corporate executives. Seven FIFA officials were arrested in Switzerland and may face extradition to the U.S. on suspicion of federal corruption charges, according to Switzerland's Federal Office of Justice. Those arrested included FIFA vice president Jeffrey Webb. Webb is president of CONCACAF, a regional confederation that encompasses North and Central America and the Caribbean, and count the U.S. among its members. Four people and two corporations previously pleaded guilty. The U.S. Justice Department made no attempt to hide Wednesday that it has FIFA corruption firmly in its cross-hairs. "Organized international soccer needs a new start," said acting U.S. Attorney Kelly Currie, of the Eastern District of New York, before adding that the indictment was not "the final chapter" in the American investigation. The arrests were made at the Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich — the Swiss city where FIFA's annual meeting will take place later this week — by plain-clothed officers representing Switzerland's FOJ. According to the FOJ, the action was taken at the specific request of American legal authorities following an investigation led by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York. Investigators suspect the illegal dispersal of more than $100 million in "bribes and kickbacks" involving media, marketing and sponsorship rights dating as far back as the early 1990s, the FOJ said. FOR THE WIN John Oliver rips FIFA President Sepp Blatter in hilarious new rant Lynch, FBI director James Comey and IRS criminal chief Richard Weber were expected to announce the extent of the criminal case in Brooklyn on Wednesday morning. It was not immediately clear if that announcement will also address the investigation into the World Cup. "Undisclosed and illegal payments, kickbacks, and bribes became a way of doing business at FIFA," Comey said. "I want to commend the investigators and prosecutors around the world who have pursued this case so diligently, for so many years." FIFA has long struggled to shake off accusations of corruption, but the American case appears to be the largest and most wide-ranging investigation into the financial dealings of the governing body. FOR THE WIN Nepalese official rips Qatar and FIFA for refusing to let workers return home after earthquake While a FIFA spokesman swiftly insisted that there were no allegations against the organization's controversial president, Sepp Blatter, this could hardly have come at a worse time for the 79-year-old, who is expected to be elected for a fifth time on Friday. "(Blatter) is not involved at all," FIFA spokesman Walter De Gregorio said. Hjelmgaard reported from London.