Cops Raid the Former Offices of FIFA’s Brand-New President

Urs Lindt/Freshfocus/ZUMA Press

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Global soccer may be embroiled in yet another corruption crisis after Swiss police raided the offices of UEFA, the sport’s European governing body, on Wednesday. The raid came days after Gianni Infantino, UEFA’s former chief and the newly installed president of FIFA, appeared in the massive Panama Papers leak, which exposed the complex offshore banking arrangements of some of the world’s most powerful people.

According to the Guardian, those documents show that Infantino co-signed a UEFA broadcast rights deal in 2006 with two Argentinian businessmen, Hugo and Marino Jinkis, who are now under indictment as part of the United States’ global soccer corruption investigation. The men immediately resold the rights to Ecuador’s TV station Teleamazonas at a steep markup, and the documents potentially tie Infantino to both that deal and other illicit acts by the Jinkis’.

Infantino was UEFA’s director of legal services at the time, and he said in a statement yesterday that the contract was awarded properly and that he had no direct dealings with either of the two men or their company. “There is no indication whatsoever for any wrongdoings from neither UEFA nor myself in this matter,” he said.

Infantino was only elected FIFA president in February, following months of scandal during which the US and Swiss authorities arrested a string of FIFA officials and the organization banned its former president, Sepp Blatter, from any soccer-related activities for six years.

At the time, Infantino promised to turn the page on FIFA’s corruption problems and implement badly needed reforms. “We will restore the image of FIFA and the respect of FIFA, and everyone in the world will applaud us,” he said after his election.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

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Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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