FIFA said Wednesday that it 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.
According to a statement on its website, FIFA said in its capacity as a “victimized institution” it has 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 Chuck Blazer, Jack Warner, Jeffrey Webb and others 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. 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,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino.
FIFA said that it estimates that at a minimum 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 said it 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 said it 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 programs 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. When FIFA recovers this money, it will be directed back to its original purpose: for the benefit and development of international football,” said Infantino, according to the FIFA statement.