The whiff of corruption has hung around FIFA for years yet most countries appeared powerless to do anything about it.
But now the US Justice Department and the FBI have rushed in where others feared to tread and send shockwaves through world football.
Here is a list of just some of the examples of suspected corruption and scandals within FIFA which have angered soccers fans over the years.
CASH FOR VOTES EXPOSE
Reynald Temarii, president of the Oceania Football Confederation, is recorded telling reporters from the Sunday Times that two bids had offered “huge” payments for his support in the 2018 World Cup bidding process and that he had received offers of between $10-12 million.
Amos Adamu, a FIFA executive committee member from Nigeria, says he wants $800,000 to build four artificial football pitches, which contravenes FIFA’s rules.
Both men tell reporters they could facilitate access to the men who’ll decide where the tournaments will be held.
Adamu and Temarii are provisionally suspended from all football-related activity pending the outcome of an investigation.
BLATTER PROMISES PROBE
FIFA president Sepp Blatter writes to all 24 executive committee members promising a full investigation into the allegations.
It emerges that the Spain-Portugal and Qatar bids could face expulsion from the contest for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments if the duo are found guilty of colluding. Spain-Portugal’s bid leader accuses England of doing a deal with the USA in breach of FIFA regulations.
TERMARII AND ADAMU BANNED
It is reported that the Spain-Portugal and Qatar World Cup bids could escape censure over the allegations of collusion, after FIFA executive committee member Chuck Blazer confirms that no hard evidence had been passed to its ethics committee.
Adamu is suspended for three years and fined 10,000 Swiss francs while Temarii is banned for a year and fined 5,000 Swiss francs.
The panel concludes there is insufficient proof of collusion between the Spain-Portugal and Qatar bids.
RUSSIA AND QATAR WIN WORLD CUP BIDS (DECEMBER, 2010)
The English FA is humiliated as Russia is handed 2018 World Cup finals and Qatar gets the 2022 tournament. Roger Burden, acting chairman of the FA, stands down after relations between FA and FIFA descend into acrimony. Burden said he “wanted nothing more to do with them [FIFA]”.
The Swiss government prepares to investigate risk of corruption in sports bodies based in the country following FIFA’s controversial award of the two World Cup finals.
QATAR AND SPAIN-PORTUGAL COLLUSION
Blatter confirms that the Qatar and Spain-Portugal World Cup bids colluded to trade votes in the contest for the 2018 and 2022 finals.
FA AND FIFA AT LOGGERHEADS
Geoff Thompson endorses Sepp Blatter’s campaign to retain the FIFA presidency despite having been chairman of England’s failed World Cup bid.
The Daily Telegraph discloses that England football officials hired a “corporate investigations” company to investigate their rivals during the failed bid to host the 2018 World Cup.
Six of FIFA’s executive committee are accused in Parliament of “improper and unethical behaviour” during World Cup bidding. FIFA demand the FA provide evidence to support allegations of corruption and “unethical” behaviour against six executive committee members.
Blatter vows to complete the inquiry before the presidential election. The FA reveal they will hold an independent inquiry into Lord Triesman’s allegations of corruption against four FIFA executive committee members.
The FA board agrees to abstain in the forthcoming FIFA presidential election because of doubts over the probity of both Blatter and his challenger, Mohamed Bin Hammam.
Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid committee accuses the parliamentary committee of “insulting” behaviour as it launches attempted fight-back against allegations of corruption leveled against it. The FA call for the June 1 FIFA election to be postponed and for an independent review of the world governing body’s structures.
BLATTER RUNS FOR RE-ELECTION
Reports say the FA will support any challenger to Sepp Blatter in forthcoming FIFA presidential election.
FIFA presidential challenger Mohamed Bin Hammam considers striking deal with Michel Platini that would see him step aside in favour of the UEFA president after just one four-year term if he is successful in his campaign to unseat Sepp Blatter.
Blatter promises to hand out $1 billion in “development” funds to the 208 members associations that will decide his fate as president in the forthcoming FIFA election.
BIN HAMMAN AND WARNER SUSPENDED (MAY, 2011)
FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam says Amadou Diallo, a Guinean national accused of facilitating bribes on behalf of Qatar’s World Cup bid, is a close friend of his but not involved in any wrongdoing.
Amadou Diallo, the man accused of facilitating bribes on behalf of Qatar’s successful 2022 World Cup bid worked for FIFA for at least six years as an advisor to Bin Hammam, the governing body confirms.
It then emerges that Bin Hammam and Jack Warner, a FIFA vice-president, are to face disciplinary action for allegedly offering bribes to members of the Caribbean Football Union in exchange for votes in a forthcoming election.
FIFA’s ethics committee suspend the pair from all football-related activity pending the outcome of a full inquiry into bribery accusations.
FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke confirms that an email in which he made the sensational allegation that Qatar “bought” the 2022 World Cup is genuine after Warner, the recipient, reveals it to the press.
QATAR DISMISSES BRIBERY CLAIMS
The whistleblower in FIFA 2022 corruption claims, Phaedra Almajid, retracts her claims. Hassan Al-Thawadi, the secretary-general of the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, dismisses bribery claims.
He then outlines the nation’s plans to construct air-conditioned stadiums.
FIFA LAUNCHES PROBE (JULY, 2012)
FIFA employ American attorney Michael J Garcia to investigate allegations of corruption in world football. A month later, Garcia declares his intention to investigate the bidding process and decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar.
BLATTER INSISTS ON SUMMER WORLD CUP IN QATAR
Blatter claims Qatar will host the World Cup in the June-July summer slot as planned, amid growing speculation it will be moved to the winter.
BLATTER’S ADMISSION (AUGUST, 2013)
Blatter confirms that that the FIFA executive committee will meet to decide on when the 2022 World Cup should be held, due to Qatar’s hot climate. He admits that playing the World Cup in the summer there is “not rational and reasonable’’. Blatter goes on to say that FIFA made “a mistake” when appointing Qatar as the host nation for the 2022 World Cup.
FRESH BRIBERY ALLEGATIONS EMERGE (JUNE, 2014)
Millions of new documents are made public by the Sunday Times, showing how bribes changed hands in order to secure Qatar the 2022 World Cup. FIFA claims it is taking the claims seriously.
GARCIA REPORT IS BLOCKED
Garcia delivers his 350-page report, but Hans-Joachim Eckert, the head of the adjudicatory arm of FIFA’s ethics committee, declares that it will not be made public for legal reasons. Instead, Eckert reveals that he will produce a summary of the report ready for public consumption by November 2014.
ECKERT RELEASES SUMMARY AND GARCIA RESIGNS
Eckert makes public the 42-page summary of his findings after reviewing the Garcia’s report. The summary clears both Russia and Qatar of any wrongdoing during the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Critics denounce Eckert’s summary as ‘a whitewash’, while Garcia denounces it as “materially incomplete” with “erroneous representations of the facts and conclusions”.
FIFA’s Appeal Committee then dismiss Garcia’s appeal against the Eckert summary. Garcia resigns a day later, before FIFA’s executive committee agree to publish a “legally appropriate version” of the Garcia report.
SPONSORS JUMP SHIP (JANUARY, 2015)
Following Sony and Emirates ending their sponsorship contracts with FIFA, Castrol, Continental and Johnson & Johnson withdraw as pressure mounts on Blatter to quit.
BLATTER FACES NEW CHALLENGER
Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan announces he will run against Blatter in May FIFA presidential elections. Later in the month, Greg Dyke announces that his bid has the FA’s support.
IT’S A WINTER WORLD CUP (MARCH, 2015)
FIFA confirm the Qatar World Cup will be held in November and December 2022. Premier League clubs demand compensation for the disruption.
FIGO QUITS FIFA ELECTION (MAY, 2015)
Former footballer Luis Figo withdraws from the race, due to Blatter’s “dictatorship”.
FIFA OFFICIALS ARRESTED IN US CORRUPTION PROBE (MAY, 2015)
Dawn raids see six FIFA executives arrested in Zurich, with 14 detained overall.
The charges against those arrested include fraud, racketeering and money laundering and relate to World Cup bids as well as marketing and broadcast deals.
Amongst those arrested are vice president of the executive committee Jeffrey Webb of the Cayman Islands, Uruguay’s Eugenio Figueredo, who is also an executive committee vice-president and until recently was the president of South America’s football association and the notorious Warner of Trinidad and Tobago, a former member of the executive committee who has been accused of numerous ethical violations.