Perhaps the biggest surprise was the arrest of Webb from the Cayman Islands. He replaced Jack Warner as Concacaf president in 2011 following Warner's resignation in a vote-buying scandal in the Caribbean.
Webb, who maintains a residence in the Atlanta area, was touted as a reformer within FIFA and held the key position of head of the FIFA internal audit committee. He has often been mentioned as a possible successor to Blatter.
More importantly from an American perspective, he has been pushing to get the voting for the 2026 World Cup bidding campaign structured so a Concacaf nation -- presumably the USA -- would be selected as host. Those decisions are slated to take place Friday and Saturday.
In addition to the arrests in Zurich, the FBI is executing search warrants at Concacaf headquarters in Miami.
According to the Department of Justice, the charges relate bribes and kickbacks by soccer officials from sports marketing executives in connection with the commercialization of the media and marketing rights associated with Concacaf and Conmebol, the South American confederation.
They include FIFA World Cup qualifiers in the Concacaf region, the Gold Cup, Concacaf Champions League, Copa America, Copa Libertadores and Copa do Brasil. Most critically, they also include the 2016 Copa America Centenario, which the USA is supposed to host. The fate of the one-off event is now up in the air.
Other alleged schemes relate to bribes and kickbacks in connection with the sponsorship of the CBF, the Brazilian federation, by a major U.S. sportswear company, selection of the host country for the 2010 World Cup and the 2011 FIFA presidential election.
The indictments followed guilty pleas gained against four individuals: American Chuck Blazer, the long-serving former general secretary of Concacaf and former member of the FIFA executive committee, Jose Hawilla, the owner and founder of Miami-based Traffic Group, and Daryan and Daryll Warner, sons of former Concacaf president and FIFA vice president Jack Warner, who was also charged. As part of Hawilla's plea in December, he forfeited $151 million.
“The indictment alleges corruption that is rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted both abroad and here in the United States,” said Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch. “It spans at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks. And it has profoundly harmed a multitude of victims, from the youth leagues and developing countries that should benefit from the revenue generated by the commercial rights these organizations hold, to the fans at home and throughout the world whose support for the game makes those rights valuable. Today’s action makes clear that this Department of Justice intends to end any such corrupt practices, to root out misconduct, and to bring wrongdoers to justice -- and we look forward to continuing to work with other countries in this effort.”
At the same time, the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland announced investigators took data and other materials from FIFA offices as part of criminal proceedings launched in March into criminal mismanagement and money laundering in connection with the allocation of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
The collection of bank records at various financial institutes in Switzerland had already begun to serve criminal proceedings both in Switzerland and abroad.