Six FIFA officials have been arrested in Zurich on charges of corruption in football management and face extradition to the United States, Swiss authorities say.
Separately, Swiss prosecutors have opened a criminal case on the applications for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
The suspects, who include a FIFA vice president, say they have accepted bribes worth $ 150 million over 20 years.
FIFA members are due to vote in the May 29 presidential election, when the current Sepp Blatter wants a fifth term.
However, Sepp Blatter is not understood as one of those arrested.
Jordan’s Prince Ali Bin al-Hussein, Sepp Blatter’s rival for the FIFA presidency, described the developments as a “sad day for football”, but declined to comment further.
At the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, a raid was also carried out with seized documents, according to Swiss prosecutors.
Among those arrested in Zurich are: Jeffrey Webb, head of the Confederation of North and Central America and the Caribbean, CONCACAF; Jack Warner, former FIFA vice president; Costa Rica national football coach Eduardo Lee, who was due to join the FIFA executive committee on May 29; Eugenio Figueredo of Uruguay, President of the South American football governing body CONMEBOL; Brazilian Jose Maria Marin, a member of the FIFA club committee.
Police were seen carrying Jose Maria Marin’s suitcase and some of his belongings in plastic bags.
Several officials have already pleaded guilty, according to the US Department of Justice. Among them is Charles Blazer, the former head of CONCACAF, who was previously a member of the FIFA executive committee.
A FIFA spokesman said the governing body was working to clarify the situation.
The Swiss Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) said in a statement on May 27 that US authorities suspected employees of receiving $ 150 million in bribes from Latin American football tournaments in the early 1990s.
The crimes were arranged and prepared in the United States through bank accounts in the United States, the statement added.
Swiss authorities can approve the extradition immediately, she continued.
In a separate move, prosecutors have launched criminal proceedings “against individuals unknown on suspicion of mismanagement and money laundering in connection with the distribution of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups,” the Swiss attorney general said in a statement.