Swiss authorities on Wednesday opened criminal proceedings against individuals on suspicion of mismanagement and money laundering related to the award of rights to host the 2018 and 2022 FIFA soccer World Cups in Russia and Qatar. Switzerland's Office of the Attorney General (OAG) also said in a statement it had seized data and documents stored in computer systems at FIFA. The OAG said the criminal proceedings, which were opened on March 10, are separate to a U.S. criminal investigation into the allocation of media, marketing and sponsorship rights for soccer tournaments.
Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, the man challenging Sepp Blatter for the most powerful job in world soccer, said he was saddened by the latest corruption scandal involving the sport's governing body FIFA. Prince Ali issued a brief statement on Wednesday following the news that six high-ranking soccer officials, including two FIFA vice-presidents, had been arrested by Swiss police and detained pending extradition to the United States. "Today is a sad day for football," Prince Ali said.