Soccer scandal prompts CONCACAF to split from sports marketing firm

Tue Jul 7, 2015 6:54pm EDT
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By Zachary Fagenson

MIAMI (Reuters) - CONCACAF, the regional body that controls soccer in the Caribbean, North America and Central America, announced Tuesday it has parted with the U.S. division of a Brazilian sports marketing firm that federal prosecutors have indicted on corruption charges.

Traffic Sports USA, a unit of the Brazilian Traffic Group, was responsible for marketing and sales for the confederation’s biennial gold cup tournaments through 2021 as well as the annual Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League through the season ending in 2022.In a press release CONCACAF said it was a mutual decision "to part ways."

It added the move "will have no effect on CONCACAF's ability to fulfill its existing obligations to sponsors or to stage future tournaments."

A CONCACAF spokesman declined further comment late Tuesday.

Traffic Sports USA's President Aaron Davidson was among the 14 marketing officials and executives from FIFA, the governing body on international soccer, who were indicted in late May on bribery, money laundering and wire fraud charges involving more than $150 million in payments.

Davidson's attorney declined to comment Tuesday. He was released on a $5 million bond in June, according to court records.

Prosecutors accused Davidson of securing contracts worth more than $35 million for the Traffic Group unit he ran and of arranging bribes for a top FIFA official.

The owner of Traffic Group, José Hawilla, has already pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy, obstruction of justice and other charges.   Continued...

The building housing offices of CONCACAF, the soccer federation that governs North America, Central America and the Caribbean, is seen during a search by FBI agents in Miami Beach, Florida May 27, 2015.  REUTERS/Gaston De Cardenas