FIFA plans to reclaim millions of dollars pocketed illegally by corrupt FIFA members and other football officials.
A US investigation exposed widespread corruption at the top of world football, and FIFA estimates that at a minimum tens of millions of dollars were diverted from the sport illegally through bribery, kickbacks and corrupt schemes carried out by the defendants.
FIFA submitted documents on Wednesday to the US authorities in an effort to reclaim tens of millions of dollars taken illegally by corrupt FIFA members and other football officials.
Newly-elected FIFA president Gianni Infantino said in a statement: “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.”
Former executives Jack Warner, a former FIFA vice-president, Chuck Blazer and Jeffrey Webb are among the defendants FIFA has said it will sue.
FIFA says it is a “victimised institution” and has submitted a request for restitution to the US attorney’s office and the US probation office for the Eastern District of New York.
It is claiming damages from 41 former FIFA officials from other football organisations indicted in the ongoing investigation by the US Department of Justice.
FIFA accepts the millions of dollars lost during the corruption scandal is likely to increase as the investigation continues.
The US government has already announced forfeiture amounts that should cover FIFA’s claims for damages.
“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,” Infantino said.
“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.
“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.”