FIFA Nostra: World Soccer Scandal Becomes Mob Museum Exhibit

Image: FIFA President Sepp Blatter
FIFA President Sepp Blatter speaks at the Sepp Blatter Football Tournament in Ulrichen, Switzerland, last month.Laurent Gillieron / EPA

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By Alex Johnson

Alongside the Tommy guns, gangland mugshots and photos of bullet-riddled corpses at the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement in Las Vegas, you can now find embattled FIFA President Sepp Blatter.

The museum — better known as the Mob Museum — opened a three-month exhibit Tuesday chronicling the $150 million world soccer scandal.

"The Beautiful Game Turns Ugly," which runs through the end of the year, aims to demonstrate that while soccer is the world's most popular sport, "it's also the most corrupt," according to the exhibit.

Jonathan Ullman, the museum's executive director, said the exhibit should be popular — especially with visitors from Europe, South America and other soccer-loving regions — because it's "ripped right from today's headlines."

Related: How Sepp Blatter Runs Soccer 'Like a Chicago Politician'

The 'exhibit aims to demonstrate that while soccer is the world's most popular sport, 'it's also the most corrupt.'National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement

"The display provides an incisive and eye-opening look into the rampant corruption" that plagues FIFA, the museum says in literature accompanying the exhibit.

In May, the Justice Department indicted 14 men — including nine senior FIFA officials — on charges that they conspired to pay more than $150 million in bribes and kickbacks during a quarter-century of negotiations over TV rights to international soccer tournaments.

The charges were brought under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO — and that's how the scandal makes it into the Mob Museum. RICO was passed in 1970 to combat the Mafia and other organized crime groups.

Blatter, FIFA's autocratic president since 1998, is at the center of the scandal. He hasn't been charged, but he announced that he would step down early next year.