FIFA officials arrested in new round of pre-dawn raids

Two men talk to each other in front of the FIFA logo at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland. (File photo: AP)

Two FIFA officials were arrested at the request of U.S. authorities on Thursday in a widening bribery case that has rocked soccer’s scandal-hit governing body.

Swiss police made pre-dawn raids at the luxury Baur au Lac hotel in downtown Zurich, the same place where arrests on May 27 sparked the FIFA corruption crisis.

Switzerland’s justice ministry said in a statement the two men, who were not identified, are “suspected of accepting bribes of millions of dollars.”

The bribes are linked to marketing rights for the Copa America and World Cup qualifying matches, the statement said.

It is a further strike by the U.S. Department of Justice at the heart of FIFA ahead of a key meeting of football’s international leaders.

The arrests were made ahead of a 9 a.m. (0800 GMT) FIFA executive committee meeting which is scheduled to approve wide-ranging reforms to help protect against corrupt officials.

The reforms are a response to the dual American and Swiss federal investigations of corruption implicating FIFA leaders and which forced President Sepp Blatter to announce his resignation plans in June.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:47 - GMT 06:47