Sunday 9 May 2021

Inside Traffic Group, The Little-known Company At The Heart of the FIFA Corruption


(Via FIFA has been the subject of most headlines over the past couple of days surrounding corruption in the football world going back decades, but much of the indictment brought by the US Department of Justice (which you can read in full here courtesy of Bloomberg) refers to the misconduct of multi-national sports marketing agency Traffic Group.

Traffic Group had already been subject to government investigations in Brazil ahead of the indictment’s publication on Wednesday, and a well-placed source within the Brazilian sports marketing industry tells Business Insider the company has been on a “downward spiral” for the past five years in terms of its perception in the industry.

- Advertisement -

In December, The DOJ says the owner and founder of Traffic Group, José Hawilla, waived indictment and pleaded guilty to charges of racketeering conspiracy (the most severe crime, which has a maximum penalty of 20 years in US jail,) wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, and obstruction of justice.

Hawilla also agreed to forfeit over $151 million in ill-gained profits made from bribes and kickbacks from sports governing bodies, sportswear companies, and officials over a two-decade period.

Aaron Davidson, Traffic Group’s US president (and also chairman of the North American Soccer League) has also been indicted by US federal prosecutors.


- Advertisement -

The indictment alleges Traffic Group’s corruption began back in the early 1990s when Hawilla cut a deal to acquire the worldwide commercial rights for the CONMEBOL’s Copa America national team tournament, soliciting tens of millions of dollars in bribes to do so, which also included deals for sponsorship rights acquired by US sportswear companies.

The indictment also claims Hawilla paid Jack Warner (then president of North American football governing body CONCACAF, who has since been indicted by the DOJ) and Charles Blazer (then CONCACAF general secretary, who has since pleaded guilty to wire fraud and tax evasion, according to the DOJ statement) bribes to win rights for the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

The DOJ says in its indictment that Traffic Group also paid bribes for other rights involving federations in Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Nicaragua.

One of the achievements Traffic Group is most famous for is mediating the $369 million deal between Nike and the Brazilian national football team in 1996. The indictment mentions an “unidentified U.S. sportswear company” that signed a partnership with the Brazilian football federation in 1996, on which the sports marketing company took a commission, which went on to be paid to a “high-ranking” official at Brazil’s football federation CBF.

It’s not clear if Nike is the unidentified company, but Bloomberg notes that the partnership referenced in the indictment happened in the same year that Nike announced its deal with Brazil.

Nike declined to comment to Bloomberg on the specific allegations but said in a statement: “Nike believes in ethical and fair play in both business and sport and strongly opposes any form of manipulation or bribery. We have been cooperating, and we will continue to cooperate, with the authorities.”

- Advertisement -

Business Insider has contacted Traffic Group for comment and will update this article once a response has been received.


… Continue reading at

- Advertisement -

We strive for accuracy in its reports. But if you see something that doesn’t look right, send us an email. The Q reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it’s accuracy.

Q24N is an aggregator of news for Latin America. Reports from Mexico to the tip of Chile and Caribbean are sourced for our readers to find all their Latin America news in one place.

Related Articles

Road Deaths Fall to Lowest In 7 Years Due to Sanitary Vehicle Restriction

QCOSTARICA - The year in which the Covid-19 pandemic forced Costa...

Transitos save Uber driver from assailants

QCOSTARICA - Transitos (traffic officials) Gustavo Ordóñez and Daniel Picado became...


Down to to only 10 beds for ‘very critical’ covid patients

QCOSTARICA - This Monday noon, May 3, the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CSS) reported there were only ten free beds to receive Covid-19...

Mexico’s apology to indigenous Maya people: Progress or political show?

Q24N - Exactly 120 years after the battle that ended the last great Maya revolt in Mexico's Yucatan area, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador marked...

“Ciudad Gobierno” would give a new face to capital with a gigantic complex of buildings

QCOSTARICA - With a mega-complex of more than 153,000 square meters (1.65 million square feet), comprised of 16 ministries would be located in eight...

Mexico City: Metro train bridge collapse leaves 23 dead

Q24N - An elevated section of metro track in Mexico City partially collapsed on Monday night, bringing down rubble and some train carriages onto...

Seriously ill patients from covid-19 overflow Caja capacity

QCOSTARICA - The Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) says that its hospitalization figures for serious covid-19 patients are in the red. In a statement ...

Costa Rica has appllied almost one million vaccines

QCOSTARICA - At the beginning of this month of May, Costa Rica has applied almost a million vaccines, as announced by President Carlos Alvarado...

Colombia’s Protests Against President Duque Explained

QCOLOMBIA – Nineteen people have died and hundreds more have been injured in protests in Colombia against President Iván Duque Márquez’s tax bill, aimed...

7 out of 10 Costa Ricans accept the coronavirus vaccine; 3 doubt or reject it

QCOSTARICA - Seven out of ten people in Costa Rica accept getting the covid-19 vaccine, while the other three have doubts, reject it or...

Caja will start vaccination against covid-19 of people with risk factors between 18 and 57 years old

QCOSTARICA - In order to maintain the rate of vaccination against covid-19 in the health areas that show the greatest progress in this process...


Get our daily newsletter with the latest posts directly in your mailbox. Click on the subscribe and fill out the form. It's that simple!

Log In

Forgot password?

Forgot password?

Enter your account data and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Your password reset link appears to be invalid or expired.

Log in

Privacy Policy

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.