September 6 – Former Concacaf president and FIFA vice-president Jeffrey Webb, who was scooped up in the FBI raids on the Bar au Lac hotel in Zurich will not be sentenced until December 7, more than six years after his arrest in May 2015.
Webb has almost become the forgotten man of the US Department of Justice indictments that brought the biggest institutional crisis in FIFA’s history. The highest profile of those arrested – he was many people’s tip to become the next FIFA president – he has escaped sentencing having petitioned the US courts 11 times to postpone his sentencing (most recently on march 22).
In the intervening time most of his FIFA colleagues have been fined, sanctioned and in some cases imprisoned and served their time for actions that Webb inveigled them into. For them justice has been hard and life changing – arguably unfairly uncompromising in some cases – while Webb remains seemingly above the judicial process as he lives comfortably on in the Atlanta area.
The time lapse has been so great that the FIFAgate debacle and its related scandals are now spawing their own TV production industry. Discovery + announced this week it is to air a two-parter The Men Who Sold the World Cup on the eve of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The award of the World Cup to Qatar was a trigger event in the FBI’s deep dive into the murky world of FIFA politics and business dealings.
Webb has agreed to pay multiple fines totalling $6.7 million. He is also wanted by the Cayman Islands (his home country), in connection with a separate case, but is prevented from extradition while the US case is on-going.
Webb was part of an initial 47-count U.S. federal court indictment and faces 14 charges for racketeering and bribery. The US Department of Justice said he had been part of a FIFA corruption and racketeering scheme that spanned 25 years.
Webb was involved in what the US DoJ said was a $110 million bribe in connection with the Copa America football tournament, including a special 2016 Centenario version of the tournament, celebrating its 100th anniversary, to be played in the US.
Webb has co-operated with the US authorities since agreeing to be extradited, but waiting for six years for his sentencing to be completed has only led to speculation as to what information he has that would warrant such a delay.
Most speculation in that regard is around dealings with Jack Warner – Webb’s predecessor as Concacaf president – who is still battling extradition from Trinidad and Tobago and currently protected while a ruling on a legal technicality is being sat on and seemingly deliberately long-tailed by the UK’s privy council.
Warner has promised fireworks if he is extradited and faces the rest of his life in prison, saying he has information that will stretch even deeper into FIFA and could implicate former FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
It seems the past could still have a role to play in FIFA’s future as Qatar 2022 creeps nearer and nearer.
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