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Sports

Fifa seeks compensation from corrupt officials

media Former Fifa president Sepp Blatter was banned from football-related activity following allegations of large-scale corruption. Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann/Files

Fifa is demanding millions of dollars in damages from officials facing bribery charges in the United States. The announcement comes just two weeks after Gianni Infantino replaced Sepp Blatter as its president.

 

Fifa has launched its own legal offensive against former officials facing corruption charges, by demanding victim restitution for the defendants’ “sordid misconduct”.

In a statement released on Wednesday, it says it will seek financial compensation for the harm caused to its reputation and finances.

Fifa estimates that at a minimum tens of millions of dollars were diverted through bribes and other corrupt schemes, an amount that is likely to increase as the investigation continues.

It has also called on US authorities to investigate the assets of its former vice-president Jeffrey Webb, one of thirty-nine individuals facing charged in the United States for bribes worth over $200 million.

Many of them were paid for lucrative television and sponsorship deals in Central and South America.

In its statement, Fifa also accused South Africa of paying a $10 million bribe to secure its bid for the 2010 World Cup, a claim the country has strongly denied.

"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 Infantino, who was elected FIFA president on February 26.

World football has been at the centre of multiple inquiries in recent years, which resulted in its former leader Blatter and his heir apparent Michel Platini being banned from any activity related to the sport.

The crisis began last May, when US authorities led a series of arrests of top officials in Zürich. But the US judicial authorities are allowing the governing body to be treated as a “victim” of its former members’ corruption.

 

 

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