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FIFA acknowledges corruption, demands compo


Global soccer body FIFA has applied to US authorities for tens of millions of dollars in damages from ex-officials indicted there for graft, recognising for the first time executives had in the past “sold” votes in World Cup hosting contests.

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Gianni Infantino, recently elected president to clear out the worst corruption scandal in FIFA history, said the money had been meant for playing fields and kit, not officials’ mansions and cars and he would get it back “no matter how long it takes”.

The Swiss-based body said it had filed a restitution request on Tuesday with federal prosecutors in New York.

In the document and an accompanying letter, it demanded return of salaries and payment of compensation for damage to its brand, business interests and reputation.

“The defendants… deeply tarnished the FIFA brand and impaired FIFA’s ability to use its resources for positive actions throughout the world,” the document said.

The very future of FIFA has been put in question by the graft scandal, with some demanding its abolition.

The FIFA document listed cases of alleged wrongdoing, including the race to host the 2010 World Cup, won by South Africa, already detailed by US authorities in December.

It said former executive committee members Jack Warner, who has been banned for life but denies wrongdoing, Chuck Blazer, who has pleaded guilty to racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering, along with other individuals engineered a $US10 million ($A13.41 million) payoff in exchange for executive committee votes.

epa04838255 (FILE) A file picture dated 29 May 2011 of FIFA official Charles 'Chuck' Blazer leaving the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, after an ethics hearing over alleged corruption during the campaign for the FIFA presidency. Former FIFA official Chuck Blazer has been banned from football for life by the governing body's ethics committee on 09 July 2015. Blazer, 70, is a former member of the FIFA executive committee and general secretary of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF). Blazer was found guilty of violating seven articles of the FIFA code of ethics including 'offering and accepting gifts and other benefits' and 'bribery and corruption.'  EPA/STEFFEN SCHMIDT

Charles ‘Chuck’ Blazer leaving FIFA headquarters in Zurich after an ethics hearing over alleged corruption during the campaign for the FIFA presidency. Photo: STEFFEN SCHMIDT, EPA

Warner, fighting extradition from Trinidad and Tobago, had accepted a bribe to vote for Morocco in the 1998 World Cup hosting race, won by France, the report said.

“It is now apparent that multiple members of FIFA’s Executive Committee abused their positions and sold their votes on multiple occasions,” the report said.

However, it did not mention the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments awarded to Russia and Qatar, a decision which has triggered a criminal investigation by Swiss authorities.

Ex-officials who have pleaded guilty have already agreed to pay more than $US190 million in forfeiture, according to US authorities.


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