Monday, April 25, 2016

Policing World Soccer

The Extraterritorial Jurisdiction of the U.S. in the FIFA Corruption Scandal

By Lauren Eversley
Lauren Eversley is a third-year student at Albany Law School.  She graduated magna cum laude from Siena College in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in History.  During her time at Albany Law School, she has interned at the Claims Bureau of the Office of the New York State Attorney General, and completed a field placement with the Honorable Judge Christian Hummel, of the Northern District of New York.   Lauren is a member of the Albany Law Review, serving as the Executive Editor for Coordinating & Operation for Volume 79.  Upon graduation, Ms. Eversley hopes to pursue a career in public service.
She prepared this paper for the International Law of War & Crime Seminar.

What began as a normal morning for the officials of FIFA–the governing body of association soccer and its affiliates across the globe–would soon launch the long-awaited upheaval of international soccer.   The 65th FIFA Congress, the annual meeting of the legislative body of the association, was mere hours away from beginning in Zurich, Switzerland  when the Baur au Lac hotel was raided at dawn, resulting in the arrests of fourteen FIFA officials on charges of corruption. While the charges themselves did not necessarily come as a surprise to most of the world’s soccer fans–FIFA has been battling accusations of impropriety for the better part of the twenty-first century –what did shock the world was that the raids were carried out at the hands of the United States, following an extensive three-year investigation by the FBI and the Department of Justice.

The confusion that mounted was twofold: initially, many found it humorous that the country perhaps most indifferent to the game of soccer was the one to finally bring charges;  secondly, the question arose as to how this was possible.  While the United States is generally recognized to be the world’s police force in many international matters, many were baffled at the fact the United States government was able to charge officials of a foreign corporation and arrest them outside of America’s territorial reach.

This paper discusses the answer to the “how,” as well as the legitimacy of the claims brought by the United States under the doctrine of extraterritorial jurisdiction.  Part II of this paper provides a brief discussion of the underlying facts of the FIFA indictment.  It focuses on the relevant “players” behind the scheme, as well as circumstances that occurred that would eventually lead to the charges filed by the United States.  It also offers a succinct summary of those charges, and analyze their interplay with the background of the case.

Part III discusses the principles of extraterritorial jurisdiction, the foundation for the charges brought by the United States in the indictment.  Part IV examines the legitimacy of those charges being filed by the United States, juxtaposed against the large-scale publicity garnered by the charges.  It also assesses the criticism that arose in the wake of the scandal. Finally, part V offers some perception on the future of the scandal, which to date is still in its beginning stages.
To read the entire paper, open HERE.