Mike Rowbottom

Before that question can be answered there are a mass of others requiring responses, both in Switzerland - where the game’s world governing body has its base - and the United States, from which yesterday’s dramatic dawn arrests of selected FIFA officials who had gathered for the impending Congress in Zurich were directed.

The swiftness of events - from that early flourish at the Baur au Lac hotel to the concussive press conference in New York City at which the newly-appointed United States  Attorney General Loretta Lynch spoke of an indictment alleging “corruption that is rampant, systemic and deeply-rooted both abroad and here in the United States” - was bewildering.

FBI agents in regulation sunglasses also raided the CONCACEF offices in Miami in the morning to remove evidence. Several of them were pictured at the scene holding the latest in law enforcement technology, which gave every appearance of being large-size paper coffee cups.

In an emotional response given to BBC Sport, England’s former prolific goalscorer and now Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker commented: “There can’t be a more corrupt, deplorable organisation on earth than FIFA. The house of cards is falling. Time for change!”

Life has already changed, and not in a good way, for the nine FIFA officials and five other executives charged with what the United State Justice Department characterised as “a 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer.”

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US Attorney General Loretta Lynch addresses a press conference in New York City relating to the FIFA crisis - and speaks of “corruption that is rampant, systemic and deeply-rooted both abroad and here in the United States”©Getty Images

Meanwhile,  Swiss prosecutors are proceeding with their separate investigation into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup finals scheduled respectively for Russia and Qatar.

Lineker’s image of a falling house of cards is apt. There is a sense now of an organisation sliding apart – an organisation described by the governing body for European football, UEFA, as having corruption “deeply rooted” in its culture.

Members of UEFA will decide today whether to boycott tomorrow’s FIFA Congress, at which the 79-year-old incumbent President, Sepp Blatter, is still favoured by the bookies to defeat his only challenger, Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan  and secure a fifth term of office. Given all that has happened, UEFA say this Congress risks turning into “a farce” and has called for a postponement of at least six months.

This massive disturbance in the force of football bears echoes of the scandal which convulsed the Olympic Movement in 1998, when a whistle-blowing member of the International Olympic Committee, Switzerland’s Marc Hodler, accused a group of fellow members of taking bribes over the destination of Summer and Winter Games during the 1990s.

The accusation focused on bribery which had taken place in 1995 shortly before Salt Lake City succeeded in what was their fifth attempt to earn the winter Games, which they duly hosted in 2002.

Hodler raised the alarm, and before long his efforts prompted four separate investigations by the IOC, the US Olympic Committee, the Salt Lake Organising Committee, and the US Department of Justice.

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FBI investigators, having put down their coffee cups, carry data out of the CONCACEF offices ©Getty Images

By the time those Games rolled into the Mormon city, the two men at the head of the Bid Committee, Tom Welch and David Johnson, had resigned.

The Department of Justice filed 15 charges of bribery and fraud against these two men. Both were eventually acquitted of all criminal charges in December 2003.

But after the investigations had made their recommendations, ten IOC members were expelled for receiving money or money-in-kind from the Salt Lake organisers, and a further ten were sanctioned.

This represented the first punishment for corruption in the IOC for more than a century.  And in the wake of the investigations, guidelines on where IOC members could go and what they could accept from prospective Games hosts were set out. (Guidelines currently being challenged by the pugnacious President of SportAccord, Marius Vizer.)

These were seismic changes. But what is rumbling around world football right now feels like something even graver.

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Media gather outside the Baur Au Lac hotel in Zurich where FIFA officials were arrested on Wednesday morning ©Getty Images

Already, these new investigations have thrown up indelible images – some of them bizarre. Who is likely to forget the description of how agents from the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service gave chase down Fifth Avenue to a mobility scooter bearing the large frame of US FIFA member Chuck Blazer, who has since pleaded guilty to charges of bribery and who has, tellingly, co-operated in the ongoing investigation into his fellow FIFA members.

Memorable too is the report that Blazer occupied two apartments above FIFA’s regional office in Trump Tower, each costing $6,000 (£4,000/€5,500) per month, and one of which was occupied solely by his cats.

Also the defiant statement issued by a FIFA spokesman in response to frenzied media questions about the President: "He is not involved at all."

Now the cards have started falling, however, will the top trump also hit the deck? As Francis Urquhart, the rabid Tory whip in the BBC’s House of Cards drama, would have put it: “You might very well think that; I couldn’t possibly comment.”