FIFA wants the millions in bribe money that was paid to Jack Warner, Jeffrey Webb and other officials
NEW YORK - World football’s governing body FIFA has submitted documents to US authorities in an effort to reclaim tens of millions of dollars pocketed illegally by corrupt FIFA members and other football officials.
Among those named are former FIFA vice-president and president of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Jack Warner of Trinidad and Tobago and his successor Jeffrey Webb of the Cayman Islands.
In its capacity as a “victimized institution”, FIFA yesterday submitted a Request for Restitution to the US Attorney’s Office and the US Probation Office for the Eastern District of New York, claiming damages from 41 former FIFA officials and other football organizations, including Warner, Webb and Chuck Blazer, who have been indicted in the ongoing investigation by the US Department of Justice.
“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, its member associations and the football community,” said new FIFA President Gianni Infantino.
“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.”
FIFA estimates that at least tens of millions of dollars were diverted from the football community illegally through bribery, kickbacks and corrupt schemes carried out by the defendants. This amount is likely to increase as the investigation continues.
The US government has already announced forfeiture amounts that should cover FIFA’s claims for damages.
FIFA is seeking restitution for the money the defendants pocketed to enrich themselves, but also for the salaries, benefits and bonuses that were paid to them during their tenure at FIFA and other football organizations. FIFA is also seeking money from the defendants for the damage their actions caused to FIFA’s brand and reputation, its intellectual property and its business relationships.
“The defendants diverted this money not just from FIFA but from players, coaches and fans worldwide who benefit from the programmes that FIFA runs to develop and promote football. These dollars were meant to build football fields, not mansions and pools; to buy football kits, not jewellery and cars; and to fund youth player and coach development, not to underwrite lavish lifestyles for football and sports marketing executives,” said Infantino.
“When FIFA recovers this money, it will be directed back to its original purpose: for the benefit and development of international football.”