Six senior Fifa executives have been arrested on corruption charges at an early morning raid at the five-star Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich, Switzerland.
The suspects, which are reported to include a Fifa vice-president, have been been detained on the request of US authorities for allegedly taking bribes totalling $100m (£65m) over the last two decades, according to a statement by the Swiss Federal Office of Justice (FOJ).
Fifa’s Zurich headquarters were also raided by police, and documents seized.
Those arrested await extradition to the US to face corruption charges after it was discovered that the bribes for for football tournaments in Latin America were agreed in the US and the financial transfers were made from US bank accounts.
Sepp Blatter, who is seeking a fifth term as Fifa president, was not one of those arrested by Swiss authorities.
In a separate investigation, Swiss authorities have also begun criminal proceedings “against persons unknown on suspicion of criminal mismanagement and of money laundering in connection with the allocation of the 2018 and 2022 football World Cups”.
Fifa’s reputation has been marred with corruption allegations in recent years, with many accusations of bribery surrounding the allocation of the 2022 World Cup to the oil-rich Gulf state of Qatar, which has a climate inhospitable for the game. However, authorities have previously failed to find sufficient evidence to proceed with criminal investigations.
Today’s arrests may have stemmed from information provided by Chuck Blazer, one of Fifa’s most senior US representatives, who the Wall Street Journal reports took part in undercover work to expose corruption within the shadowy organisation.