Report: FBI “stepping up” investigation on FIFA corruption

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According to CNN, the FBI is increasing its efforts in a probe of FIFA corruption charges.

On the heels of US lawyer Michael Garcia shredding FIFA over “erroneous representations” in its partial release of the report on the 2018/2022 World Cup bid, this report shows increasing pressure on the international governing body to come clean.

The organization has repeatedly stated there has been no wrongdoing regarding either Russia’s successful bid for the 2018 World Cup – the next one on the schedule – as well as the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

[RELATED: Garcia calls FIFA report “erroneous”]

According to the CNN report, the FBI is being aided by a “former top FIFA official” who is cooperating with the bureau by providing documents, recordings of meetings, and other materials relevent to the investigation.  A name formerly brought up was Chuck Blazer, a former executive committee member from 1996-2013, while also serving as VP of the US Soccer Federation and General Secretary of CONCACAF. The New York Daily News reported that Blazer was an FBI informant and spied on his FIFA colleagues.

The FBI has been conducting a three-year long investigation, which would place the beginning of the probe around late 2011, which overlaps Blazer’s time at FIFA.

[RELATED: FIFA report clears 2018, 2022 World Cup bids and refuses to reopen bidding]

Earlier this morning, Garcia hit out at FIFA for its conflict of interest. The organization released a small portion of the report, which was conducted by Garcia but then written by FIFA ethics committee chairman Hans-Joachim Eckert, which represents a clear conflict of interest. The report, as released by FIFA today, cleared themselves of any wrongdoing in the 2018 and 2022 bids but attacked the English bid for its relationship with allegedly corrupt official Jack Warner.

Obviously the FBI investigation may well take a while longer, but if they find damning evidence, and especially if they receive help from organizations other countries such as Scotland Yard, their eventual charges would be wide-reaching.