The U.S. Department of Justice declared FIFA and other soccer bodies to be victims of corrupt former officials and said Tuesday they would get more than US$200-million from cash forfeited in a sprawling investigation.
A first amount of US$32.2-million will be paid into a “World Football Remission Fund” overseen by the FIFA Foundation charity, federal prosecutors said.
“This announcement is the beginning of the process for returning funds to the victims of the FIFA bribery scandal and marks the department’s continued commitment to ensuring justice for those victims harmed by this scheme,” the DOJ said in a statement.
FIFA’s charity supports projects in schools, helps the sport recover after natural disasters, develops women’s and girls’ soccer, and the FIFA Legends program that uses former players as ambassadors.
Most of the forfeited money – in a case unsealed in 2015 that led to more than 50 people or corporate entities charged – will now be under FIFA’s control in Zurich, though it never belonged to the world soccer body.
The forfeited money was typically linked to bribes and kickbacks from broadcasting and sponsor deals for continental competitions in the Americas and national deals for World Cup qualifying games.
More than US$150-million was ordered to be forfeited by Jose Hawilla, the Brazilian marketing executive who has since died. His group of agencies had close relationships with South American soccer body CONMEBOL and North America’s CONCACAF.