FIFA has begun legal proceedings in an attempt to recoup the millions of dollars pocketed illegally by 41 corrupt officials and other football organisations.
Football’s world governing body has seen former president Sepp Blatter and vice-president Michel Platini banned from football following a widespread corruption scandal, while other former officials – including Chuck Blazer, Jack Warner and Jeffrey Webb – have been indicted in an ongoing investigation by the United States Department of Justice.
The latest development sees FIFA, now under the leadership of newly-elected president Gianni Infantino, take action against those involved in an attempt to reclaim the “tens of millions of dollars” taken illegally.
FIFA has submitted a Request of Restitution to the US Attorney’s Office and the US Probation Office, claiming damages that include salaries, benefits and bonuses paid during the officials’ time in office.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Infantino said: “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.
“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.
“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.
“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.”