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Red Card: New Book Chronicles Massive FIFA Corruption


A new book titled Red Card, written by Ken Bensinger dives into the massive corruption scandal that plagued F.I.F.A, the world’s international soccer governing body. Bensinger, a former investigative journalist with The Wall Street Journal, but presently with BuzzFeed, took advantage of a racketeering law that allows reporters and prosecutors to investigate financial wrongdoings.

The book, published on Tuesday, details how F.I.F.A. officials and corporate executives were found guilty in conviction trials around the world, and forfeited hundreds of millions of illegally acquired dollars. The book details how the investigation started as a small IRS review of a lone soccer official’s tax return and grew into a worldwide investigation that involved a multi-million dollar money laundering and kickback scheme.

FIFA Answers To No One 

In an interview with Risk & Compliance Journal, Bensinger disclosed that bribery and corruption is so rife in F.I.F.A. because the soccer governing body is largely independent and not subject to any stern regulator.

“How do you oversee an international non-government organization that isn’t answerable to any specific government?” Bensinger queried. “I think that kind of almost governance-free environment built a culture of impunity.”

The book author noted that F.I.F.A. is technically under the supervision of Switzerland, but the Swiss government has never been too forthright with the international soccer body. F.I.F.A. is divided into six regional confederations to supervise soccer from every part of the world, but the corruption in the upper echelons of the body is persisted at all levels of the organization down the line.

FIFA Uses Wire-Transfer Companies in the US to Launder Money across Several Countries

The U.S.-led probe is still ongoing and looking into decades of racketeering within F.I.F.A. Former F.I.F.A. President Sepp Blatter claimed that the United States is witch hunting the organization because it awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar rather than the U.S. Bensinger says nothing could be further from the truth.

“The truth is that the investigation was opened five months before the now-infamous December 2010 vote that gave the 2022 World Cup to Qatar rather than the U.S.,” he averred. “Therefore, it’s absolutely impossible for this to be a case of sour grapes.”

In Red Card, the author reveals the intricacies of how shell companies, wire transfer companies and other financial tools were used to mask financial impropriety within F.I.F.A. He noted that FedWire and CHIPS among other wire-transfer companies within the U.S. were used as clearing-houses to coordinate money-laundering activities that F.I.F.A. engaged in between countries.

Red Card came out just in time for the 2018 World Cup which opened in Russia on June 14. While Sepp Blatter is no longer the head of F.I.F.A., the investigation into the organization is far from over.

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