Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

FIFA Admits World Cup Bribes, Wants That Money Back From The U.S.

Illustration for article titled FIFA Admits World Cup Bribes, Wants That Money Back From The U.S.

You can say many things about FIFA, but you can never say it doesn’t really like money, or that it doesn’t have enormous fucking balls.


Yesterday, soccer’s world governing body submitted a claim for tens of millions of dollars to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York, which is prosecuting a number of former soccer executives for corruption and has seized their assets

Among the claims is one for $10 million, paid by the South African FA, routed through FIFA, into accounts controlled by former CONCACAF head Jack Warner in exchange for his wrangling up votes for the 2010 World Cup. It’s the first legal admission by FIFA that bribery did take place, which, duh. “It is now apparent that multiple members of the FIFA executive committee abused their position and sold their votes on multiple occasions,” the filing said.


The Associated Press got a look at FIFA’s claims. The organization is asking for:

— $28.2 million for years of payments, including bonuses, flights and daily expenses, to officials it now says are corrupt

— $10 million for the “theft” of money that FIFA officials transferred as bribes to then-executive committee members to vote for South Africa as 2010 World Cup host

— “substantial” cost of legal bills since separate U.S. and Swiss federal probes of corruption in international soccer were revealed last May

— damages for harm to its reputation, plus other bribes and kickbacks for media rights to non-FIFA competitions but “which were made possible because of the value of the FIFA brand”

FIFA is seeking the money under the Mandatory Restitution Act, and for that to apply, FIFA would have to be the victim here. That’s indeed what the filing maintains: that corrupt FIFA executives actually stole that money from FIFA’s coffers, and in doing so harmed FIFA’s image. Good fucking luck with that one, guys.

“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,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said Wednesday in a statement. “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.”


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