David Beckham spoke about the FIFA corruption scandal on Wednesday and called for change in soccer's governing body, according to the Associated Press.
Last week, nine soccer officials and five business associates were indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice on charges of racketeering, money laundering and wire fraud related to bribes and kickbacks. Newly re-elected FIFA president Sepp Blatter resigned from his position on Monday in wake of the scandal.
“Some of the things that we now know happened were despicable, unacceptable and awful for the game we love so much,” Beckham said.
Testimony from former FIFA executive committee member Chuck Blazer was released on Wednesday. Blazer said in his 2013 guilty plea testimony in U.S. District Court that he and other executive committee members accepted bribes related to host selection for the 1998 and 2010 World Cups.
In 2011, after England lost its 2018 World Cup bid amid rumors of corruption, Beckham said he was left with a “sick feeling” and that there is “obviously something wrong” with FIFA.
“Whilst it has not been good to read some of the headlines surrounding our sport recently, I hope at last we are now moving in the right direction,” Beckham said Wednesday. “Football is not owned by a few individuals at the top, it belongs to the millions of people around the world who love this sport. It is time for FIFA to change and we should all welcome it.”
- Molly Geary