Fifa trial linked to World Cup 2006 expires

After the statute of limitations expired, the Swiss Federal Criminal Court has ended its Fifa fraud trial without passing sentence. Former German Football Association presidents Theo Zwanziger and Wolfgang Niersbach and two other former Fifa officials were on trial over huge payments they received before the 2006 World Cup was awarded to Germany. The official reason is that the restrictions imposed in the wake of the corona crisis made it impossible to carry out the trial. However questions have also been raised regarding the work of the criminal investigators.

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Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

A disgrace for the Swiss criminal justice system

The Neue Zürcher Zeitung sees the failed trial as a debacle:

“First of all the Federal Prosecutor's Office conducted extensive investigations but failed to interview key sources. It was only last summer that it finally brought charges. Then the Federal Criminal Court - aware of the impending statute of limitations - allowed a full five months to pass, only to send the indictment back to the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland in January so that the latter could 'supplement' it. At the same time the Federal Prosecutor Michael Lauber came under increasing pressure due to informal and undocumented meetings with Fifa boss Gianni Infantino ... This week the supervisory authority published its final report via the Federal Criminal Court. ... After reading it one is left with the image of an institution that was preoccupied with internal squabbling and hostilities.”

Zeit Online (DE) /

Trial was against the wrong people from the start

The true masterminds behind the corrupt "Fifa system" weren't brought to trial at all, Zeit Online criticises:

“The real bad boys in this game are those at Fifa. In over four decades bosses João Havelange and Sepp Blatter turned them into an economic crime organisation, a mafia without guns. Nothing was possible without greasing palms. People like Jack Warner, Chuck Blazer, Issa Hayatou, Nicolás Leoz, Julio Grondona, Ricardo Teixeira and Worawi Makudi, all tolerated by Blatter, were corrupt to the tips of their toes and always had their hands out. Blatter himself was involved in criminal TV deals without ever being investigated. With the millions that disappeared into the Fifa coffers entire football leagues could be saved in the corona crisis.”