Latin American fans are delighting in the arrest of the region’s top soccer officials as part of the sweeping U.S. investigation of FIFA, the sport’s governing body. Politicians, players and sports enthusiasts have celebrated the news, with many hoping the scandal will prompt a thorough cleanup of soccer federations in the Americas.
Of the 14 figures charged with corruption, 13 are from Latin America and the Caribbean. The 47-count indictment released by the U.S. Justice Department suggests a complex, transnational network specializing in bribery, tax evasion and money laundering.
For Latin American soccer fans, scandals in domestic leagues are all too familiar. Yet many have expressed surprise that FIFA, long suspected of wrongdoings but always viewed as untouchable, has finally been confronted. Reaction from the region was overwhelmingly positive. Bolivian President Evo Morales backed the move, while Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said her country “will only benefit” from the investigation.
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