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Interpol Suspends $22M FIFA Partnership

  • VOA News

FILE - A man passes an Interpol logo.

FILE - A man passes an Interpol logo.

The international law enforcement agency Interpol says it has suspended its 10-year partnership deal with football's governing body FIFA over its corruption scandal.

Interpol announced Friday that it is suspending its Integrity in Sport program, a 10-year project funded by a $22 million donation from FIFA. Interpol says the program is meant to prevent manipulation of sporting events and illegal gambling by criminal groups.

Interpol Secretary General Jurgen Stock said in a statement that Interpol is still committed to developing the program, but he has decided to suspend the program in light of the "current context" surrounding FIFA.

Stock said "all external partners, whether public or private, must share the fundamental values and principles" of Interpol, as well as those of the wider law enforcement community.

2026 World Cup bidding on hold

On Wednesday FIFA announced it has suspended the bidding process for the 2026 World Cup because of the ongoing controversy.

The host of the 2026 world football championship was set to be chosen by FIFA members during a 2017 meeting in Malaysia. It is not clear when the decision now will be made.

A U.S. indictment issued last month charges nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives with offenses that include racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering. A separate Swiss investigation is looking into allegations of mismanagement and money laundering connected to the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar.

U.S. court records unsealed last Wednesday show that a former executive committee member of FIFA admitted accepting bribes in connection with the 1998 and 2010 World Cups.

Charles Blazer, a U.S. citizen who spent two decades as one of the world's most powerful soccer officials, secretly pleaded guilty in November 2013 to 10 criminal counts in New York as part of an agreement with U.S. prosecutors, according to the partially redacted transcript of the hearing.

Blazer told a U.S. judge that he and others on FIFA's executive committee accepted bribes in connection with the choice of France as the host of the 1998 World Cup. He said he also accepted bribes linked to the 2010 event awarded to South Africa.

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