The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) has submitted a paper work to US authorities demanding that tens of millions of dollars bagged illegally by corrupt FIFA members and other football officials” be paid back immediately.
Utilizing its capability as a “victimized establishment” under the US regulation, the association demands that 41 of its former officers and organisations together with Chuck Blazer and Jack Warner, pay refund the money. Adding that the former executives have plunged the them into crisis and has “deeply tarnished the FIFA brand”.
Identifying $190m in assets that have been forfeited by the 41 FIFA officials and marketing executives indicted over the past 12 months in the US and $100m in seizures relating to the defendants’ ‘felonious schemes’, sources said they were seeking restitution that would run into tens of millions of dollars.
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The body has therefore charged Blazer and Warner with, among other things, receiving bribe money from South Africa in exchange for their votes in favour of the 2010 World Cup hosting rights going to South Africa.
“The convicted defendants abused the positions of trust they held at FIFA and other international football organisations and caused serious and lasting damage to FIFA, its member associations and the football community,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino said.
Infantino further stated that those monies the officers 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.”
Not only is the body seeking for the refund of the monies taken, it also wants the salaries, bonuses and benefits the defendants enjoyed all through their tenure in office to be returned. The organization also added that the defendants will have to pay for the damages they have caused the brand, its reputation, intellectual property and its business relationships.
“It is now apparent that multiple members of the Fifa’s executive committee abused their position and sold their [WORLD CUP]votes on multiple occasions.
The defendants diverted this money not just from FIFA but from players, coaches and fans worldwide who benefit from the programmes that the body 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”.
However, commentators are of the view that the legal claim made by FIFA is part of an ongoing attempt by the body and its US lawyers, Quinn Emmanuel, and public affairs advisers, Teneo, to frame world football’s governing body as the victim in the ongoing corruption crisis that has brought it to its knees.
But the president promised to redirect the retrieved monies back to what they were originally meant for, which is for the benefit and development of international football.