FIFA Wants Soccer Moms Penalized for Citing Corruption Probe

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FIFA said allegations of corruption at soccer’s international governing body have no part in a lawsuit by U.S. parents who say the sport exposes their kids to greater risk of brain damage.

The organization asked a judge in Oakland, California, to sanction the parents for bringing a “frivolous” request to include the U.S. indictment of current and ex-FIFA officials into their case. The charges just aren’t relevant, FIFA said.

“What do allegations of corruption involving soccer and sports marketing executives have to do with a lawsuit seeking rules changes allegedly required to address the risk of concussions in youth soccer?” FIFA said in its filing Monday.

U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton said at a May 6 hearing on FIFA’s request to dismiss the case that she had “grave concerns” about “inconsistencies, contradictions and a lack of clarity” in the parents’ complaint. Hamilton said she may allow the parents to file a new complaint.

Lawyers for the parents say the U.S. indictment would bolster their claim that the court has authority over the Swiss-based organization. The allegations may also raise questions about the honesty of FIFA officials who submitted declarations to the court, they said.

Jon King, a lawyer for the parents, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment on FIFA’s request for sanctions.

The case is Mehr v. Federation Internationale de Football Association, 14-cv-3879, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (Oakland).

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