The world governing body of football, Fifa, was plunged into an unprecedented crisis on the eve of its congress in Zurich after Swiss authorities arrested a string of officials in a dawn raid and opened criminal proceedings over the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

More than a dozen plainclothed officers descended on the five-star Baur au Lac hotel on Wednesday, where officials had gathered for Fifa’s annual meeting.

The arrests were made on behalf of US authorities, after an FBI investigation that has been ongoing for at least three years. The US Department of Justice said authorities had charged 14 officials, nine of whom are current or former Fifa executives. Those arrested in Zurich face extradition to the US.

Hours later, Swiss federal prosecutors said they had opened criminal proceedings in connection with the award of the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar. The decisions have been shrouded in claims of bribery and corruption ever since the vote in December 2010.

The Swiss authorities seized “electronic data and documents” in a raid on Fifa headquarters. Bank documents had earlier been collected from various Swiss financial institutions. Police will question 10 members of the Fifa executive committee members who took part in the World Cup votes.

In a statement, the Swiss attorney general’s office said the executives were being questioned on suspicion of “criminal mismanagement” and money laundering. It said the timing of the operation was deliberately co-ordinated with the arrests on behalf of the US authorities “to avoid any possible collusion” between suspects and because a large number of those involved in the voting for the two World Cups were present in Zurich, where Fifa president Sepp Blatter was expected to be re-elected for another four-year term on Friday.

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TheGuardian