The U.S. crackdown on alleged corruption at FIFA, soccer’s governing body, brings overdue accountability to an organization that has brought shame to a great sport.

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BIG cheers are in order for the U.S. Justice Department crackdown on alleged corruption in FIFA, soccer’s international governing body.

Regardless of how one feels about soccer, the United States is asserting moral authority over an organization that has brought shame for years to a great sport.

There is no institution on Earth that reaches across as many borders and into as many hearts as soccer. Yet the sport has long been tainted by overt and seemingly intractable cronyism at its highest levels.

In a remarkable announcement Wednesday, the Justice Department said that it has charged 14 FIFA officials with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering related to decades of bribery and kickbacks.

Defendants include executives at the Switzerland-based organization, and current and former presidents of its U.S.-based affiliate CONCACAF, which governs soccer in North America, Central America and the Caribbean.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said they are accused of “corruption that is rampant, systemic and deep-rooted both abroad and here in the United States.”

Victims range from youth leagues to developing countries that should benefit from the staggering revenue FIFA generates — $5.7 billion from 2011 through 2014, mostly from broadcast and licensing deals. Also harmed are fans everywhere whose support makes FIFA’s commercial rights valuable, Lynch said.

America’s leading role in tackling soccer’s problem and calling for ethical governance will resonate throughout the world, from war-torn villages in Syria to the forests of South America and the surging commercial cities of China.

America’s leading role in tackling soccer’s problem and calling for ethical governance will resonate throughout the world”

It also sends a strong message to other sports organizations rolling in money and potentially tempted by influence peddling that they, too, will be held accountable.