American soccer leaders say they're stunned that their FBI cracked down big time on Fifa corruption — even though many of those indicted were in the confederation that includes America, and the linchpin turncoat of the probe lives in Manhattan.
All 14 of the sports administrators named in the US federal indictment are linked to South America's Conembol regional group or were current or former leaders of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf). The major whistleblower and co-conspirator in the case, Chuck Blazer, is a New Yorker who served as general secretary in charge of the books for Concacaf.
"That was very much a surprise," said US Soccer president Sunil Gulati, referring to indictments against people linked to Concacaf.
"It's been widely written that there was an investigation going on of sorts. We certainly had no expectation of what we learned," he told the Los Angeles Times.
Payoffs for commercial rights
The head of Concacaf was just bounced from the organisation because he was named in the indictment. Jeff Webb was one of at least six officials accused in the indictment of taking bribes of some $110m (£72m) linked to the awarding of broadcast and commercial rights for major regional tournaments, including the Copa America, which was to be played in the US for the first time in 2016.
They are also charged with taking payoffs in exchange for awarding Traffic Sports USA of Miami commercial rights to Concacaf World Cup qualifiers and Gold Cup and Champions League events.
"Given everything that's happened, it's premature to say what the final result on that will be," Gulati said. "Obviously you've got two confederations that are at the heart of one part of what happened."
US federal officials say the indictments are only the beginning of the cases they intend to bring, indicating that many leaders of more football federations will likely still be brought to court.
More indictments on the way, says IRS
Meanwhile, a senior US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) official said he was "fairly confident" there would be more indictments in the criminal investigation into alleged Fifa corruption, the New York Times reported.
"I'm fairly confident that we will have another round of indictments," Richard Weber, the chief of the IRS unit in charge of criminal investigations, was quoted as saying by the Times.
The newspaper reported that Weber would not identify the remaining targets or whether newly re-elected Fifa president Sepp Blatter was among them.
"We strongly believe there are other people and entities involved in criminal acts," Weber was quoted as saying by the Times.