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FIFA recovers $200 million of seized kickback loot

The stolen money now intended to intended to fund global youth and community projects. Keystone / Ahmed Jallanzo

Football’s world governing body, FIFA, has set up a fund to reclaim $201 million (CHF183 million) that was stolen from the sport by corrupt officials and marketing executives.

This content was published on August 25, 2021 - 09:42
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The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has agreed to pay the sum into the newly created World Football Remission Fund.

The fund has been set up by the Swiss-based FIFA Foundation to pump the money back into the sport “especially through youth and community programmes”.

“The terms of the Fund provide for oversight and independent audit measures to ensure remitted funds are distributed appropriately,” the DoJ said in a statementExternal link.

The money is part of a haul seized by the DoJ as it prosecuted a global web of kickback schemes involving the granting of marketing and media rights for major football tournaments.

The ongoing investigation, started in 2015, has had particular focused on South, Central and North America and the Caribbean. The football associations of these regions were also part of the DoJ deal to release the funds.

“I am delighted to see that money which was illegally siphoned out of football is now coming back to be used for its proper purposes, as it should have been in the first place,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino in a statementExternal link.

“We have been able to fundamentally change FIFA from a toxic organization…to a highly esteemed and trusted global sports governing body.”

The DoJ added that its investigations into football corruption are ongoing but the Swiss authorities have faced criticism for failing to follow up their probes with prosecutions.

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