FIFA has detailed plans to distribute $200 million in compensation to two regional football governing bodies, relating to the 2015 scandal which resulted in the downfall of President Sepp Blatter.
The $200 million package will compensate for funds stolen during the 2015 controversy, which saw fraud, bribery, money laundering and racketeering offences committed by conspiring officials and sports marketing executives.
FIFA, North and Central American and Caribbean governing body CONCACAF and South American authority CONMEBOL will share the distributed money, which was seized by the US Department of Justice from the bank accounts of prosecuted officials.
“Today’s announcement confirms that money stolen by corrupt soccer officials and sports marketing executives through fraud and greed will be returned to where it belongs and used to benefit the sport,” said Jacquelyn M Kasulis, Acting US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York
“From the start, this investigation and prosecution have been focused on bringing wrongdoers to justice and restoring ill-gotten gains to those who work for the benefit of the beautiful game. Our office, together with our law enforcement partners, will always work to compensate victims of crime.”
The scandal in 2015 led to the replacement of Sepp Blatter by incumbent FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, who has thanked the US Justice Department authorities for their intervention six years ago, which he said has allowed officials to ‘fundamentally change Fifa from a toxic organisation’.
He further detailed that FIFA’s share of the $200 will be used to fund its FIFA Foundation, with the goal of supporting youth and community programmes in order to ‘positively impact so many people across the football world’.
In his statement, Infantino continued: “Since 2016, Fifa and the United States Department of Justice have been in close co-operation, and I believe this decision also acknowledges the significant progress we have made in terms of good governance and transparency, all of which was discussed and presented by Fifa officials and me in meetings with the authorities.
“Today, they know that with the Fifa Foundation this money is in good hands and will serve the purpose it is intended for.
“On behalf of all future beneficiaries around the world, I would like to thank the US authorities for the trust placed in Fifa, and we will make sure that these funds are used properly and bring tangible benefits for people who really need it.”
Earlier this year, Blatter was handed a six year and eight month ban from all football related activity at both national and international level following an investigation by the adjudicatory chamber of an independent ethics committee.
The Swiss ex-President was already serving a six year ban from the sport, whilst former General Secretary Jérôme Valcke was also handed a six year suspension on top of his current ten year ban.