FIFA wants its money back

FIFA filed suit to recover some of the more than $190 million already forfeited by soccer and marketing officials -- 12 former executive committee members -- who have pleaded guilty in Federal court in the corruption case that mostly involves Concacaf and Conmebol competitions.

FIFA wants the money -- more than $28 million in total -- that it paid former executive committee members and others who did FIFA work from among the 42 soccer and marketing executives and corporate entities charged.

FIFA's executive committee payments:
*Charles Blazer: $5,374,148
Rafael Salguero: $5,134,980
Jack Warner: $4,462,263
Ricardo Teixeira: $3,514,025
Nicolas Leoz: $3,254,886
*Jeffrey Webb: $2,016,205
Marco Polo Del Nero: $1,673,171
Eugenio Figueredo: $1,011,018
*Luis Bedoya: $517,843
Juan Angel Napout: $339,693
Alfredo Hawit: $230,479
Eduardo Li: $10,750
*Pleaded guilty.

FIFA also wants money for damages suffered to its reputation, legal costs in relation to the U.S. and Swiss criminal probes, as well as kickbacks defendants received.

FIFA also wants $10 million for money Warner, Blazer and their co-conspirators received in connection with votes for South Africa's 2010 World Cup bid. FIFA paid out money it intended to give South Africa for organizing the World Cup that is alleged to have been part of the deal South Africa made with Warner to secure the three Concacaf votes.

FIFA involved in bribery? That's what it looks like but it would not come out and say so.

''The U.S. indictments, which FIFA is relying upon in its restitution request, merely accuses certain individuals of criminal behavior,'' FIFA said in a statement.

FIFA is fighting on several fronts. It wants money to offset the deficits it has run up because sponsors aren't signing up -- proverbial "reputational damages."

''The convicted defendants abused the positions of trust they held at FIFA and other international football organizations and caused serious and lasting damage to FIFA,'' FIFA president Gianni Infantino said in a statement. ''The monies they pocketed belonged to global football and were meant for the development and promotion of the game. FIFA as the world governing body of football wants that money back and we are determined to get it no matter how long it takes.''

But FIFA is also trying to distance itself from the corruption of the Sepp Blatter era as Infantino takes over. Previously, Blazer and Warner were presented as the poster children for FIFA corruption, but FIFA is painting Webb -- Warner's successor as Concacaf president -- as the symbol of excess. Webb is alleged to have had kickbacks used to build a pool at his Georgia mansion and put up all kinds of watches and jewelry to be bailed out.

''These dollars were meant to build football fields, not mansions and pools,'' Infantino said, "to buy football kits, not jewelry and cars; and to fund youth player and coach development, not to underwrite lavish lifestyles for football and sports marketing executives."
1 comment about "FIFA wants its money back".
  1. Kyr-Roger St.-Denis, March 16, 2016 at 10:27 p.m.

    You say that the corruption case ... mostly involves Concacaf and Conmebol competitions", as though to imply the Western Hemisphere's confederations are somehow more corrupt than the other four. More likely, that statement is only true because it was the US government that made the investigation. There is no entity of comparable capability and will in Africa or Oceania or Asia; though why European governments didn't hit the headlines first with their investigations raises some question as to their will.

Next story loading loading..

Discover Our Publications