Swiss authorities arrested several high-ranking FIFA officials on Wednesday with the intention of extraditing them to the United States to face federal corruption charges, as first reported by the New York Times.
While those arrested include some of the highest-ranking soccer officials in the world — including current FIFA Vice President Jeffrey Webb and former FIFA Vice President Jack Warner — FIFA President Sepp Blatter was not among them.
At a press conference Wednesday, a FIFA spokesperson said Blatter is not involved in the scandal.
However, Blatter is not totally in the clear yet, according to one of the New York Times reporters who broke the story.
Reporter Michael S. Schmidt, who was present during the arrests in Zurich, was a guest on “CBS This Morning” when he was asked if Blatter is in the clear.
“No, I don’t think he is in the clear,” Schmidt told CBS. “I think there are some people in the justice department that want to see what comes of today’s indictments. Do any of these executives want to cooperate and what kind of information can they give the government? At that point, the government will look back and reassess and see who else they can go after.”
Geographically, the allegations so far are limited to officials from governing bodies in North America (Concacaf) and South America (CONMEBOL). However, the breadth of the charges, if true, paint a picture of widespread and deeply-rooted corruption that is present in FIFA in general and the one person sitting atop FIFA’s iron throne is Blatter.
FIFA’s presidential election, which Blatter is widely expected to win, is scheduled to take place on Friday.
Here are Schmidt’s comments on “CBS This Morning.”
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