The corruption charges leveled at seven officials of football's governing body don't involve entities under the soccer authority's control at all, Jerome Champagne, a former candidate for FIFA's top spot, told CNBC.
FIFA, or the Federation Internationale de Football Association, has no authority over continental branches, he said.
"FIFA is composed by the 209 national (football associations). However, they have the right to group themselves in configurations which are not members of FIFA," Champagne said. "These continental structures have always been extremely reluctant and refuse FIFA to intervene in their own business."
He noted all of the alleged criminal acts in the Department of Justice indictment were tied to properties and sports events related to two confederations, CONCACAF (the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football) and CONMEBOL (South American Football Confederation).
"FIFA itself has not been involved," Champagne said.
U.S. authorities on Wednesday accused nine soccer officials of being involved in a $150 million bribery scheme. The charges contained in a 47-count indictment include racketeering, money laundering and wire fraud.
FIFA has expressed relief at the investigation, trying to put a positive spin on what is undoubtedly a very difficult time for the organization. The organization's presidential elections are still scheduled to go ahead later Friday despite the scandal and there are no plans to change the host nations for the next two tournaments.
Champagne viewed the scandal positively.
"It is very good because sports institutions do not have the means, governance and police departments in order to pursue the criminal activities," he said.
FIFA President Joseph "Sepp" Blatter admitted Thursday his organization has lost the trust of the global community, but insisted he cannot be responsible for keeping corruption from happening. Blatter, who has headed international soccer's governing body since 1998, is widely expected to win re-election.
Not everyone is pleased with that as the scandal is crystallizing criticism of Blatter. UEFA, the Union of European Football, may consider boycotting the World Cup if Blatter is re-elected, that organization's president Michel Platini said, according to media reports.
For his part, Champagne, a one-time rival for Blatter's position, noted that FIFA's current president hasn't been charged.
"The fact that everything has jumped on him was to some extent a form of bashing probably motivated by some in order to try to block the elections," Champagne said. "According to what I have heard, Mr. Blatter will be reelected and I really do hope after his election he will launch himself into deep reform FIFA needs."
As for Champagne's own failed bid for FIFA's top spot, he said, "That's how it works. No bitterness at all."
--Matt Clinch and Everett Rosenfeld contributed to this article.
—By CNBC.Com's Leslie Shaffer; Follow her on Twitter @LeslieShaffer1