On May 27, 2015, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York announced a 47-count indictment charging nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives with a vast, 24-year scheme to “enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer.” Soccer officials solicited and received over $150 million in bribes from sports marketing companies in return for lucrative marketing rights — including television and radio broadcasting rights, advertising rights, sponsorship rights, licensing rights, hospitality rights, and ticketing rights — to FIFA events and matches.
What are some of the legal grounds for individuals and companies harmed by the FIFA bribery scandal to file civil lawsuits in U.S. courts against FIFA, FIFA constituent members, and FIFA officials?
Lieff Cabraser attorneys Dean M. Harvey, Melissa Gardner, Kevin R. Budner address this question in “Play Ball: Potential Private Rights of Action Emerging From the FIFA Corruption Scandal,” an article published in the latest issue of Business Torts & RICO News (a publication of the ABA Section of Antitrust Law, Business Torts & Civil RICO Committee).
The authors review the possibility of filing claims under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the Sherman Antitrust Act, and the civil RICO statute. They conclude:
“The underlying facts — many of which are still coming to light–are sure to spark civil litigation in some form or another. While one of the statutes explored above [the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act] is likely a nonstarter, some of the entities and consumers affected by this scandal may well find remedies in the Sherman Act and civil RICO.”