Fifa, the governing body of international soccer, is considering relocating its headquarters from Zurich to the US, according to the New York Times.
The report says that Fifa is considering both East and West coast locations. Factors such as work visas and tax breaks are also reportedly part of the decision-making process.
It is thought that new offices in the United States could potentially boost Fifa’s commercial operations and standing within the US market, as well as allowing the governing body to be more involved in preparations for the 2026 World Cup in North America.
Fifa recently opened a satellite office in Paris, in a move designed to decentralise its Swiss operation. The governing body has been based in Switzerland since 1932 and moved into its current US$200 million Zurich headquarters in 2007.
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According to the New York Times, the prospective switch to the US is being framed as a move to help Fifa distance itself from its history of scandals and corruption in Switzerland. Former president Sepp Blatter resigned in 2015 as he, along with several other high-ranking executives, were arrested on allegations of fraud and corruption in a joint US-Swiss operation. The investigation ultimately brought about a number of prosecutions.
Incumbent Fifa president Gianni Infantino has been keen to expand Fifa’s influence and shed its prior corrupt image since taking over in 2016. However, Infantino’s relationship with Michael Lauber, Switzerland’s former attorney general, is currently under investigation domestically.