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If Fifa execs had read Untold in January they would have known they were going to be arrested

By Tony Attwood

Ain’t it annoying when the Untold headline writer (which is me actually) starts to crow about how clever Untold is, outwitting all the UK’s media with a story five months before it happens.

But give me my moment of pleasure, because it can take hours, days, weeks, months, to track down some of these stories and work out which ones are going to make us look clever and which ones will come back to haunt us.

So today spare a moment for this story from 22 January 2015:

Switzerland take a greater interest in Fifa – at last

It reports a change in the law in Switzerland in December (OK we were late but got there in the end) which the rest of our wonderful hard-working press missed.  A “change to the law in Switzerland, which allows the authorities to scrutinise bank accounts held by sporting governing bodies and their leaders.”  Not many places in the UK ran this story.

Fifa knew this was happening, for as we pointed out at the time, “Fifa’s own anti-corruption adviser Mark Pieth made the point that Switzerland had become “pirate’s harbour” and urged the country to clean up its act in order for Fifa and the IOC to clean up theirs.”

One mistake I did make in that report however was to grant Fifa execs more intelligence than they have, when I said…

Fifa uses Switzerland to host World Cup votes, so that could be fun – but watch out for them to say that it is only fair that they take the voting around the world.   The IOC has already shifted the 2017 vote for Olympic venues to Peru.

Actually I am going to crow about that one, because that was me, and it was nearly right – the execs of Fifa have gathered in Switzerland today to vote (although not on the world cup) and the Swiss authorities have started to arrest them.

The origins of all this activity is the FBI investigation into Chuck Blazer and Fifa corruption on US soil.  As Untold said on 16 November 2014

CNN is reporting that FBI investigators are moving ahead with their probe, which “could result in charges against senior FIFA officials, the U.S. law enforcement officials said.”

This investigation has been running for three years, and is said to be now teaming up with the former U.S. prosecutor, Michael Garcia [who is]  not backing down.   The FBI investigation has the benefit of having the help of a few Fifa officials who are seeking to clean up their act before the FBI chopper falls.

Indeed The New York Daily News, which unlike the British press, does not bend the knee to Fifa and the FA is getting quite excited about it all – and that is to our benefit.

Meanwhile the FA is rejecting criticisms in the released Fifa summary report saying that a £35,000 dinner for Caribbean officials had been specifically cleared by Fifa…

I’ll come back to the position of the FA in a moment, but just to put some other pieces in place, this comes from 19 March 2014.

the FBI is now investigating both the Clan  Warner – and its Grand Cayman bank accounts, and the bidding process.

Warner resigned from Fifa in 2011 after a previous round of bribery revelations.  Mr Bin Hammam, a rival to Sepp Blatter for the Fifa throne was then banned from football in retaliation – a ban that was overthrown by the CAS for lack of evidence.  Then Fifa banned him again in 2012.

As for the latest today, here’s what I am currently reading from Associated Press

Six officials have been arrested and detailed by Swiss Police pending extradition to the US.   They are all attending the Fifa congress and presidential election.  The arch-demon Blatter has not been arrested.

The Swiss Federal Office of Justice said in a statement that US authorities suspect the six officials of having received or paid bribes totalling millions of dollars and that the crimes were agreed to and prepared in the US, and payments carried out via US banks.  

The FOJ statement says…

“The bribery suspects representatives of sports media and sports promotion firms are alleged to have been involved in schemes to make payments to the soccer functionaries and other functionaries of Fifa sub-organisations totalling more than US$100m.  In return, it is believed that they received media, marketing, and sponsorship rights in connection with soccer tournaments in Latin America.”

The Guardian this morning is saying that people elsewhere are being taken into custody – not just in Switzerland.

And the FA – well the FA has knowingly cavorted and cozied up to the Fifa crooks, despite having been given vast amounts of evidence to the effect that they were crooks.   And they have continued to do so.   Maybe someone should arrest all the FA bigwigs too.

More anon, but first I need some breakfast.

(I hope you are enjoying this one just 1% as much as I am – if so, watch out for people who say, “And what are you grinning about?”   Sorry, I can’t stop).

My special thanks to everyone who has fed Untold with information on this story over the past two years.


44 comments to If Fifa execs had read Untold in January they would have known they were going to be arrested

  • Chris

    well, knowing how american prosecutors use plea bargains, I wouldn’t be surprised if Mr Blatter is soon going to have a warrant on his head. Can’t imagine everybody covering him – in case he is guilty.

    I doubt he would be deported from Switzerland as he is a swiss citizen, but guess his travelling days would be over….not to talk about this change in swiss law that will come back to haunt him.

    Was just wondering what effect this might have on the upcoming congress/vote…these are going to be interesting days for sure.

    And yes, you can be proud….


  • WalterBroeckx

    Well done Tony!! Interesting times 🙂

    Untold leading the pack. Again…

  • Clockendrider

    Great work Tony. Let’s hope that this is just the start of the cleaning of the Augean stables. They’re going to need shovels of Herculean proportions to clear away all the bullshit….

  • New York Times saying it ain’t over yet.

    The indictment names 14 people on charges including racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy. In addition to senior soccer officials, the indictment is also expected to name sports-marketing executives from the United States and South America who are accused of paying more than $150 million in bribes and kickbacks in exchange for media deals associated with major soccer tournaments, according to one government official briefed on the matter.

  • The officials charged are Jeffrey Webb, Eugenio Figueredo, Jack Warner, Eduardo Li, Julio Rocha, Costas Takkas, Rafael Esquivel, José Maria Marin and Nicolás Leoz.

    Charges were also expected against the sports-marketing executives Alejandro Burzaco, Aaron Davidson, Hugo Jinkis and Mariano Jinkis. Authorities also charged José Margulies as an intermediary who facilitated illegal payments.

  • Law enforcement officials said that the investigation is ongoing, and that Mr. Blatter was not yet considered cleared of any wrongdoing. NY Times

  • John L

    will be so interesting to see how this plays out….would like to see blatter, very hard to believe hes innocent….

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    The word on the twitter is the Blatter on shitter is starting to shake and shatter, the matter of the corruption is the headline splatter from the function,the FBI’s on the tail of the blither of the Blatter, the shitter on the shatter lured by the glitter and glatter, the twatter on the twitter, the hog in the fog, the corruptible dirty dog, stinking like a bog,yet the titbit from the Untold was the beginning of the unfold, exposing the blither of the Blatter the sly old twitter shitter twatter, now a world- wide matter, a fool who forgot that the pellet with poison in the flagon with the dragon is the brew that is untrue and the road to corruption is now a media eruption urging on the destruction of the Blatter, you know the twatter on the shitter, the fatter with the chatter,all blither and sneaky blather,and does this mean the Blatter on a platter, no more corruption and long lingering Caribbean luncheons?It was the vessel with the pestle that was the brew that was true if only he knew…

  • Masterstroke

    Your hubris is completely out of control.
    Are you seriously suggesting that the FBI & other agencies worldwide have acted on info in this blog?
    Or are you just being ironic?
    Anyway it would be interesting if they manage to extradite these people to USA as prison sentences resulting from corruption would put some of these guys away for the rest of their lives.

  • robl

    Looks like Christmas is coming twice this year!

    Also looks like Kenneth read too much Dr Seuss in his youth….

  • robl

    @ Masterstroke, I think it’s more like he reported it at the time it was brewing, yet the massively resourced UK press decided to ignore it or it passed them by.

  • nicky

    Now that the corrupt mighty are beginning to be found out, the good guys of the football world simply must keep the momentum going.
    The 8 tentacles of the octopus-like US legal system must reach out and gather in all those who have brought disgrace on world football.

  • nicky

    Now that the corrupt mighty are beginning to be found out, the good guys of the football world simply must keep the momentum going.
    The 8 tentacles of the octopus-like US legal system must reach out and gather in all those who have brought disgrace on world football. 😉

  • para

    Tony is just saying he “predicted” it not “caused” it.

    Anyway, this is probably just a take over by a bigger fish who smells the “stink” 🙁 of money to be made and sends their police in to clear the way.

    We all know the phrase: “better the devil you know…”

  • TailGunner

    I read the Mark Peith “Pirates Harbour” story about three years ago, and the Telegraph reported the change in Swiss law last December, so Tony’s spring ( this year ) article wasn’t the first by some way, but he at least kept the campaign live, so allow him space to crow a little.
    I agree about extradition, they must be shitting themselves.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Hang’em, hang’em all, hang’em high!

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    It comes from the Court jester(1955) which was ripped off Never say die (1939).

  • TailGunner

    I don’t know how long it takes to get these sort of actions to court, but as it all seems to involve corruption involving the next two world cups surely they must now be suspended indefinitely

  • porter

    The vessel with the pestle holds the brew that is true.

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    yes but dont drink from the flagon with the dragon, or the chizzel with the chuzzel…

  • bjtgooner

    Well done Tony, good to see this wicked web starting to be unraveled. I share your view that the FA are also worthy of an in depth investigation – and in consequence the PGMO.

    Lets hope Septic Bladder has a severe dose of cystitis this morning!

  • AL

    Fantastic 🙂

  • rich

    I’m trying not to get carried away with my hopes here. Hearing that one of the figures arrested is a major figure in the 3rd party ownership world hasn’t helped me keep a lid on them!

    If that were to crack open, and we could find out the names of various investors, we’d be in business. Oh, to bring Mendes into it!

    If the obvious corruption involved in 2018,2022 was revealed we’d be in heaven. What would it do to powerful Russians and Quataris in football to have that muck exposed?

    Have to keep in mind how unscathed the big dogs were by the hacking scandal,though. Tantalisations of real justice, and no more.

    Anyway, time to calm right down, before I start dreaming of SWAT teams at Scudamore, Riley and Ferguson’s houses.

  • Sammy The Snake

    I came here thinking… Tony will have something to say about the mess at FIFA! 🙂

  • Gf60

    Well said Tony but Andrew Jennings was way ahead of the game…see
    Foul!: the Secret World of Fifa; Bribes, Vote Rigging and Ticket Scandals 2006
    by AndrewJennings (Author)
    He’s been tracking the mobsters for years

  • Gf60

    Worth a look at the press conference today
    Fast forward for about 20 minutes to get to the start.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I hope someone talks Blatter to the gallows…

  • Sam

    HURRAY!! Next up: PGMOL!

  • Just to explain my piece this morning…

    In my article on the change in the law happening in Switzerland I said

    Fifa uses Switzerland to host World Cup votes, so that could be fun – but watch out for them to say that it is only fair that they take the voting around the world. The IOC has already shifted the 2017 vote for Olympic venues to Peru.

    OK this is a conference to re-elect Blatter not a world cup vote, but what I did was predict that the Swiss would use a gathering of the clan to carry out the arrests. And they did.

    I am just saying therefore that

    a) any members of the press could have reached the same conclusion and been ready – but they were not

    b) Fifa could have taken my advice and held their conference in Venezuela which has no extradition treaty with the US. After all, as I also said in the article, the IOC moved their meeting to Peru.

  • porter

    Do you think Blatter is already in Caracas ? I would not be surprised if someone tipped the wink. He appears not to be where his diary said he would be today.

  • Gord

    I hope that most adult citizens of countries with FIFA affiliation complain to their national association about FIFA corruption, as well as to FIFA.

    Blatter OUT!

    All ___ Football Association executives, contractors and employees involved in FIFA corruption, OUT!

  • Sav from Australia

    2015 – currently US and the EU have sanctions against Russia

    2017 – Confederations Cup
    2018 – Football World Cup, largest sporting competition in the world

    Can the US propaganda effort to vilify Russia really afford all the positive publicity related to a successful hosting of these internal football competitions in the next 2-3 years?

    Can we not be suspicious of the timing of these attacks on FIFA and perhaps link the political will to act against FIFA corruption to the currently and ongoing destablisation in Ukraine and soft/cold war against Russia…

    Why are the proceedings in a New York court? Why not Brussels?

  • Sav from Australia

    Walter, are you not a bit harsh with sending Sepp Blatter to the gallows…

    Read this:

    There are others who milk the system far more than FIFA, but because its not as glamorous as talking about the football industry and only affects poor peasants the world over, its not even mentioned.

    Nobody is talking about these people not being corrupt. But whats a few 10s of millions of dollars.

    Where is the talk about those who take billions and trillions? I’m just suggesting a little perspective here.

    None of this will help Arsenal with the referees in any case.

  • proudkev


    FIFA are linked to organised crime. A well known investigative reporter Andrew Jennings has been tracking FIFA for years. In fact, much of the evidence he exposed has been used by the American authorities in this latest episode.

    If anyone is interested, there are a couple of books that truly open your eyes to FIFA. Do not for one minute think Blatter is not in charge of this corrupt organisation. The books are called ‘Omerta’ and ‘Foul’ both written by Andrew Jennings. Here is a link for the former:

    If you are interested in how Qatar obtained the World Cup for 2022, another great book is called “the Ugly Game – The Qataris plot to buy the World Cup”, written by Heidi Blake and Johnathon Clavert (Sunday Times journos). These books really open your eyes to what FIFA is and how Football was merely a vehicle for organised crime.

    When you delve deeper into FIFA you are left scratching your head and wondering how and why they have been able to get away with this so easily.

  • Thanks for the good work Tony,what is the SWAT team waiting for there are some big fish in the UK AS well we need our Trophies back which where robbed from us by the PGMO,FA and those asses who talked about Fergie time,time is up,who invented Fergus time . Crack dem all the first evidence is the 50th match officiated by Mike Shit Riley the current FA worm and all his cronies,what else do you want.ACTION untold has all the evindence

  • proudkev

    “Can the US propaganda effort to vilify Russia really afford all the positive publicity related to a successful hosting of these internal football competitions in the next 2-3 years?Why are the proceedings in a New York court? Why not Brussels?”

    Sav, you appear to be barking up the wrong tree. You are being paranoid.

    There are several reasons why the USA have been actively involved in this. You do know they are going back over 25 years, right?

    1. Most of the ‘bent’ money moved through American bank accounts.
    2. Concacef is in Miami, which has just been raided.
    3. Chuck Blazer was Concacef president. He was nabbed by the FBI some time ago about the tax avoidance of many Millions of pounds. He did a deal with the FBI and became an informer and enabled the FBI to bug conversations and meetings.
    4. Michael Garcia, the man who led the internal investigation into FIFA, was a former American District Attorney. He was disturbed that FIFA changed his report on corruption, altered the facts and cleared Qatar and Russia. He resigned and went public.
    5. The drinks company Coca Cola are one of the most important sponsors of FIFA.

    ….there are many more connections to the United States

    Brussels? With all due respect to Belgium, which is a beautiful Country by the way, this is way too big for the and I wouldn’t trust them. I am not a fan of a lot of the politics that goes on in Brussels.

    Forget your conspiracy theories, they are rubbish.

    At last we might see this sleazy bunch of gangsters sent to prison. I just hope they are saving Blatter for last.

  • GoingGoingGooner


    Tony is not saying that he caused the arrests only that he reported on what was public information and very few others did. Given the overwhelming sound of crickets at the time from the ‘mainstream’ media, I think he is entitled to his hour of mirth.

  • Menace

    I hope the broom they are using has good bristles as many of these boys are well oiled & slip through most sweeps. Isn’t life wonderful when justice rattles her scales! 😉

  • John L

    @ sav,

    as much as i dont agree with most us political actions particularly internationally. i think your a little off the mark here.

    first off this investigation has been going on for years. it predates the current political stand off with russia regarding Ukraine and the awarding of the world cup to russia.

    the reason this is being proccessed by US courts is because the crimes were committed within the US and using US infrastructure. they are being extradited to US if Switzerland is willing to do so….which it seems they are.
    thats why the initial wave of arrests are mostly to do with american soccer, north and south. i dont think for a second that africa, asia and europe dont have similar levels of corruption but possibly the FBI and DOD dont have jurisdiction there nor do those countries and FA’s have the political will or infrastructure to do so.

    this is just the beginning of a huge investigation and the fall out of chuck blazer.

    its rare for me to say this….but on this matter its hard to find fault with the FBI or DOD…

  • Sav from Australia

    @john l

    I can’t argue with you about corruption in football. We see it week in week out in the league – let alone the funds involved in World Cups.

    However, the US has had the Ukrainian issues brewing for a long time. And before that, the Georgian issues. And before that…Balkans wars anyone…Nato will never move East they promised Gorbachov with the USSR dissolved…last year’s ‘popular uprising’ or ‘US sponsored coup’ was only the latest issue, along with Crimea.

    Also, two US senators, Mccain and Menendez, have already apparently called for Russia to be stripped of the 2018 world cup.

    Apparently the English FA has said the FIFA election in a few days should be postponed.

    The US led and directed campaign was unveiled just before the FIFA presidential election.

    My take on it is that this is one more aspect of the ongoing propaganda war with Russia. Imagine if Russia hosts a successful World Cup like Brazil did? What happens to all the PR funding (close to billion at last count) that is going to demonizing Russia? (also the funding is public record, John Kerry had hearings on it last year)

  • John L

    @ Sav,

    no arguments vis a vis america and russia.

    my point is that this is a corruption case regarding meetings and transactions that happened on US soil. the current case was started in 2011 and some of this stuff goes back even further to the ISL days.

    this is not a case to fix fifa or change WC venues. its a corruption and racketeering case. the big break was getting chuck blazer and then using him for two years before anyone knew he had been turned. this is the first wave resulting from that big break. its quite similar to FBI cases regarding the mob.

    there will be a big fall out in football from this, in fifa, world cups etc…..but i dont get the sense that the prosecutors are all that interested in that. if a politician senses theres a gain in all of this expect them to use it thats what politicians do, but i dont get the sense whatsoever that this has all been done to discredit russia….

  • ob1977

    When I heard the news this morning I smiled, thought about time, and I looked back thinking of untold and the article I had read on here… Well done Sir…

  • Brickfields Gunners

    When the news broke , like ob1977 , I too was smiling and was wondering to myself ,” Did UA ferment or fan the fires ?” . No matter who stared this , lets hope that it snowballs and rolls down the slopes and engulfs Septic Bladder and his mob.
    Very much hopefully like what happened around to that other mob in the historic meeting about 60 years ago in Apalachin , New York on Nov 14th , 1957 . The avalanche it generated brought down the ‘old order’ .

    Too big to fall ? Let us get all comfortable and roll the tapes , and enjoy the show .

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Or did some kind hearted person send pandas to Switzerland after reading my post ?

    Brickfields Gunners -May 23, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    Does Switzerland have easy access to bamboo shoots ?
    Would China consent to send some pandas to Herr Sepp Blatter ? They could get a World Cup Final in exchange !
    This sounds like a real win -win situation for all , if the omens play out right .
    Who would you like to send pandas to ?