Swiss police began making arrests as part of a U.S. Justice Department investigation of corruption involving individuals at FIFA, soccer’s ruling body.
The raids at the Baur au Lac hotel, for years the gilded home away from home for FIFA’s pampered executive committee, come amid rising anger that the Zurich-based soccer body hasn’t done enough to curb a culture of wrongdoing amid a constant stream of corruption allegations, which reached their peak with the awarding of the next two World Cups to Russia and Qatar.
The arrests were made as FIFA’s 209 national member associations were gathering for their presidential election, held every four years.
FIFA governs global soccer, setting the rules for international play and putting on the World Cup. The organization’s revenue has surged under Blatter, hitting $5.72 billion in the four years culminating in the 2014 World Cup, the most-watched television event in history.
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During Blatter’s tenure, FIFA has been marred by investigations into embezzlement and bribery. He has been expected to stand for re-election on Friday.