Interpol suspends $22 million FIFA project amid corruption scandal
Interpol suspended a 10-year, $22.4 million partnership with FIFA on Friday as soccer's governing body continues to deal with a bribery and corruption scandal.
The international police organization says it will "freeze the use of financial contributions from FIFA."
The two entities started their partnership in May 2011 in efforts to eliminate a match-fixing operation at an Interpol base in Singapore.
“In light of the current context surrounding FIFA, while INTERPOL is still committed to developing our Integrity in Sport programme, I have decided to suspend the agreement,” Interpol secretary general Juergen Stock said, according to a release.
“All external partners, whether public or private, must share the fundamental values and principles of the Organization, as well as those of the wider law enforcement community,” Stock added.
FIFA says the program partnership is unrelated to issues surrounding the organization and believes the decision “will negatively impact the fight against criminal activity, a goal of which no supporter of the sport can be in favor.”
“We are disappointed to learn of the decision by INTERPOL to suspend cooperation in the fight against match fixing in football,” FIFA said in a statement. “The success and importance of this programme cannot be understated. Our cooperation over the past four years has been a key part of addressing the transnational problem of match fixing.”
Last month, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted 14 soccer officials and business associates and accused them of decades of "rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted" corruption. The investigation stems from an alleged $150 million in bribes related to some of soccer's biggest international tournaments.
Last week, Interpol also issued a “red notice” for two former FIFA officials and four corporate executives for charges including racketeering, conspiracy and corruption. All six of the men were named in the indictment by the Justice Department.
- Scooby Axson