FIFA corruption scandal to go on display in mafia museum


By AGENCY

Scandalous: FIFA President Sepp Blatter looking unamused as banknotes rain down on him during a news conference after the Extraordinary FIFA Executive Committee Meeting at FIFA's headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, July 20. British comedian Lee Nelson (unseen) money-bombed Blatter as a criticism against FIFA, currently facing the worst scandal in its 111-year history. Photo: Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann

Scandalous: FIFA President Sepp Blatter looking sour as banknotes rain down on him during a news conference after the Extraordinary FIFA Executive Committee Meeting at FIFA's headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, on July 20. British comedian Lee Nelson (unseen) had money-bombed Blatter to mock Blatter and FIFA, currently embroiled in the worst scandal in its 111-year history. Photo: Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann


A Las Vegas museum devoted to the exploits of past mobsters announced on July 28 that it will open a permanent display that explores the "rampant corruption" of global football's scandal-rocked governing body, which has drawn comparisons to organised crime.

The Mob Museum will unveil the display of photographs, news articles, and original narratives called The 'Beautiful Game' Turns Ugly, in September.

"The Museum's new FIFA exhibit gives a breakdown of the kickbacks, secrecy and match-fixing associated with the scandal," says the museum in a statement. "The display provides an incisive and eye-opening look into the rampant corruption that plagues (FIFA)."

In late May, US prosecutors in New York indicted nine soccer officials, most of whom held or had held FIFA positions, and five sports media and promotions executives in schemes involving US$150mil (RM573,455,266) in bribes over a period of 24 years.

Prosecutors say their investigation exposed complex money laundering schemes, millions of dollars in untaxed income and tens of millions of dollars in offshore accounts held by the football officials. The scandal – the worst crisis in FIFA's 111-year history – has triggered calls from leading FIFA sponsors as well as labour union and anti-corruption groups that the soccer entity agree to be monitored by a fully independent reform commission.

On July 29, Argentine football legend Diego Maradona says he wants to fight the "mafia" responsible for the corruption scandal that has rocked the Zurich-based Federation Internationale de Football Association.

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The museum says its exhibit, staged in an area devoted to international organised crime, will provide visitors an "especially resonant example of the different shapes organised crime can take."

FIFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the exhibit.

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The Mob Museum, or more formally the National Museum of Organized Crime & Law Enforcement, offers exhibits that piece together the story of organised crime in America and how it came to shape Las Vegas.

Among them is a brick wall that absorbed bullets aimed at seven mobsters in Chicago's infamous 1929 St Valentine's Day Massacre, Prohibition-era whiskey flasks, Kennedy-era FBI wiretaps, and suits worn by fictional HBO mob boss Tony Soprano.

One section explains the "Web of Deceit" woven by the mob in its heyday, influencing US national elections and Cuba's Fidel Castro. – Reuters/Eric M. Johnson

The 'Beautiful Game' Turns Ugly opens Sept 1 at the The Mob Museum, in Las Vegas. 

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