Editor's note: The AP reports that the US and Swiss corruption investigations have left FIFA's meeting in Zurich in disarray. President Sepp Blatter has canceled appearances with both the Confederation of African Football and FIFA's South American confederation. - Tom
Editor's note: The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland stresses that there are two separate proceedings active. One is a 'criminal investigation regarding the allocation of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.' The other is a 'criminal investigation into the allocation of media, marketing and sponsoring rights for football tournaments carried out in the United States and Latin America' - David
'The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) has opened criminal proceedings against persons unknown on suspicion of criminal mismanagement and of money laundering in connection with the allocation of the 2018 and 2022 Football World Cups. In the course of said proceedings, electronic data and documents were seized today at FIFA's head office in Zurich' - statement
Editor's note: The Swiss Federal Office of Justice will today release the names of those arrested over FIFA corruption allegations. The New York Times names several high-ranking FIFA officials but stops short of explicitly saying that they have been arrested, referencing an indictment and adding that not all officials are in Zurich - David
'Six soccer officials were arrested in Zurich and detained pending extradition. The US authorities suspect them of having received bribes totaling in the USD millions' - Swiss Federal Office of Justice statement
Switzerland (German: die Schweiz [ˈʃvaɪts]; French: Suisse [sɥis]; Italian: Svizzera [ˈzvittsera]; Romansh: Svizra [ˈʒviːtsrɐ] or [ˈʒviːtsʁːɐ]), officially the Swiss Confederation (Latin: Confoederatio Helvetica, hence its abbreviation CH), is a federal parliamentary republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities, the so-called Bundesstadt ("federal city"). The country is situated in Western and Central Europe, where it is bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland is a landlocked country geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning an area of 41,285 km2 (15,940 sq mi). While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately 8 million people is concentrated mostly on the Plateau, where the largest cities are to be found. Among them are the two global cities and economic centres of Zürich and Geneva.
The establishment of the Swiss Confederation is traditionally dated to 1 August 1291, which is celebrated annually as Swiss National Day. It has a long history of armed neutrality—it has not been in a state of war internationally since 1815—and did not join the United Nations until 2002. It pursues, however, an active foreign policy and is frequently involved in peace-building processes around the world. Switzerland is also the birthplace of the Red Cross and home to numerous international organizations, including the second largest UN office. On the European level, it is a founding member of the European Free Trade Association and is part of the Schengen Area – although it is notably not a member of the European Union, nor the European Economic Area. Switzerland comprises four main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French, Italian and the Romansh-speaking valleys. Therefore, the Swiss, although predominantly German-speaking, do not form a nation in the sense of a common ethnic or linguistic identity; rather, the strong sense of identity and community is founded on a common historical background, shared values such as federalism and direct democracy, and Alpine symbolism.
Switzerland has the highest nominal wealth per adult (financial and non-financial assets) in the world according to Credit Suisse and eighth-highest per capita gross domestic product on the IMF list. However, Switzerland is also the most expensive country in the world to live in, as measured by the price level index.
Swiss citizens have the second-highest life expectancy in the world on the UN DESA list. Switzerland is tied with the Netherlands for the top rank on the Bribe Payers Index indicating very low levels of business corruption. Moreover, for the last five years the country has been ranked first in economic and tourist competitiveness according to the Global Competitiveness Report and the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report respectively, both developed by the World Economic Forum. Zürich and Geneva have each been ranked among the top cities with the highest quality of life in the world, with the former coming second globally according to Mercer. However, Mercer also rates those two cities as the fifth- and sixth- most expensive cities in the world to live in.