On Monday President Obama weighed in on the scandal currently embroiling FIFA, expressing his desire for global soccer to be “conducted in an upright manner” at a press conference at the G7 Summit in Krün, Germany.
US officials indicted nine FIFA officials and five sports marketing executives on May 27 on racketeering, conspiracy, and corruption charges as a result of an investigation by the FBI and US Department of Justice. Although President Obama didn’t comment specifically on the US investigation, he did share his hope for a cleaned up version of the sport.
“With respect to FIFA I cannot comment on a pending case by our attorney general,” he said. “I will say that in conversations I’ve had here in Europe people think it is very important for FIFA to be able to operate with integrity and transparency and accountability.
"And so as the investigation and charges proceed, I think we have to keep in mind that although football – soccer, depending on which side of the Atlantic you live on – is a game, it’s also a massive business, it is a source of incredible national pride and people want to make sure that it operates with integrity. The United States, by the way, since we keep on getting better and better at each World Cup, we want to make sure that a sport that’s gaining popularity is conducted in an upright manner.”
Two days after the May 27 indictments, FIFA President Sepp Blatter was controversially elected for a fifth term, but announced his intention to resign from the post just four days later.
Though the initial FBI investigation did not encompass the bids awarded to Russia and Qatar for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, it emerged on Friday that the FBI has since widened its probe to include that process.
Both Russia and Qatar have denied any wrongdoing in the awarding of the two tournaments, which was determined by a FIFA Executive Committe vote in December 2010.