FIFA sues corrupt officials

Seeks at least $2 million from Jeffrey Webb

Former CIFA president Jeffrey Webb has pleaded guilty in the FIFA scandal in the United States.
Former CIFA president Jeffrey Webb has pleaded guilty in the FIFA scandal in the United States.

World football governing body FIFA is suing its corrupt former executives, including Cayman’s Jeffrey Webb, in an attempt to claim “tens of millions of dollars” in damages.

The association filed papers in a New York court this week claiming that $190 million in assets forfeited by the 41 individuals indicted in an ongoing corruption probe should be used to compensate victims, principally FIFA itself.

It is also seeking to recover salaries and benefits paid to the indicted executives, including just over $2 million from Webb, who has admitted his role in the bribery and kickback scam.

The court documents outline some of the criminal charges against former FIFA officials, including detailing how Webb and his attaché Costas Takkas negotiated a $3 million bribe from sports marketing company Traffic for marketing rights to World Cup qualifiers in the Caribbean.

Webb’s cut, it states, found its way to bank accounts in Georgia to enable him to “purchase a small mansion and install a swimming pool.”

Largely drawn from details in the U.S. Department of Justice indictment, the lawsuit includes an acknowledgment from FIFA that officials sold their votes in World Cup bidding contests and that former CONCACAF boss Jack Warner, his general secretary Chuck Blazer and others were paid a $10 million bribe to vote for South Africa to host the 2010 World Cup.

FIFA says its reputation and business relationships, as well as its bank balance, have been damaged by the actions of its former executives and their associates. It is seeking the return of funds diverted from the organization.

Following the release of the victim statement and request for restitution on Wednesday, the organization’s new president Gianni Infantino said, “These dollars were meant to build football fields, not mansions and pools; to buy football kits, not jewelry and cars; and to fund youth player and coach development, not to underwrite lavish lifestyles for football and sports marketing executives.”

He added that the convicted defendants had abused positions of trust 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 lawsuit states that the corrupt officials’ schemes exploited the efforts by FIFA over the years to promote international football and translate the game’s popularity into a commercial success.

“Together, the defendants misappropriated FIFA’s resources, its brand, and its commercial value to enlarge their own bank accounts. Their schemes were simplistic, but many in nature. In essence, they betrayed their duties and sold their powers to the highest bidder. Multiple indictments have now been returned that demonstrate varying schemes. Each one of them harmed FIFA, its member associations, the continental confederations, and the game of football.”

The lawsuit contains what is understood to be the first public admission from FIFA that some members of its executive committee regularly sold their votes, manipulating the bidding process that decided the host nations for World Cup tournaments.

The court documents outline how Trinidadian football official Warner, American Blazer and other co-conspirators secured a $10 million payment in connection with the South African bid to host the 2010 World Cup.

“Warner and his co-conspirators lied to FIFA about the nature of the payment, disguising it as support for the benefit of the ‘African Diaspora’ in the Caribbean region, when in reality it was a bribe,” it states.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Give it up Jeff. Hope authorities go after the co-conspirators who pocketed lots of cash from Jeff and his buddies. Good to see football cleaned up and kudos to the new FIFA boss. Wishing him well. While we are on the topic of sports- why in God’s name don’t they just select 2 venues per continent to host the summer/ winter Olympics. There is a real scam going on. After countries spend billions of dollars getting ready for the Olympics- check out photos on the web– dust settles and once glorious venues become parking lots, etc. The World’s money is best spent deciding on 2 venues per continent to host these games. Rio not ready. No matter what they say would not allow my worst enemy or stray dog to touch the sewage bacteria ridden waters surrounding Rio. If the organizers had any sense they would have the swimming events away from polluted Rio. How about https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilha_Grande . You’re most welcome Brazil- and good luck getting ready this summer. The world is watching !!!

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  2. Following the release of the victim statement and request for restitution on Wednesday, the organization’s new president Gianni Infantino said, “These dollars were meant to build football fields, not mansions and pools; to buy football kits, not jewelry and cars; and to fund youth player and coach development, not to underwrite lavish lifestyles for football and sports marketing executives.”

    FIFA is finally admitting what those of us deeply involved in the game has known for many years; it was/is a corrupt organization and bribes have been paid for World Cup votes and TV marketing rights for a long time, ever since the presidency of Brazilian Joao Havalange.

    As the football tournaments have become more lucrative over the years, so have the bribes.

    Which brings us closer to home, much closer.

    Jeffrey Webb took over the presidency of the Cayman Islands Football Association from out-going president, Tony Scott, sometime in 1992.

    There was a thriving, improving football game in Cayman at that time, with great hopes for the future.

    And then, shortly after Mr. Webb’s presidency, the game began to deteriorate very rapidly, while Mr. Webb’s star in FIFA began to rise.

    Some of us scratched our heads and said ” Cayman’s football is going down the drain but Jeff is rising in FIFA, so it can’t be on the credit for what he is doing for Cayman’s football for which he is rising, it has to be something else.'”.

    Now we know for sure what that ‘something else’ was.

    The suspicions around Webb’s activities and relationship with Jack Warner and Chuck Blazer have swirled around for years but if you wanted to become a pariah in local football circles, you only had to imply that Jeffrey Webb did not walk on water…or turn water into wine…or was as squeaky-clean honest, as some people erroneously chose to believe.

    This is how wrapped up, brain-washed and bought-off Jeffrey Webb has had the local football community; those of us who knew more and were better in football matters simply walked away from Cayman’s football, never to look back.

    Which brings me to the current situation involving CIFA.

    It is well documented that Webb has carried out and committed his financial crimes as president of CIFA for well over 20 years and that the bulk of the more serious offenses have happened in the last 5 years, when CIFA was heavily involved in receiving benefits in the form of world-class youth tournaments through Webb’s connections, a position that the level and quality of Cayman’s football has not warranted, despite the fact that the exposure and experience has been very beneficial for Cayman’s youth footballers.

    The looming elephant in the room question remains, why has CIFA not been investigated in this corruption scandal as yet, whether by international or local authorities, as CIFA has been the umbrella and vehicle used by Jeffrey Webb and others to committ serious financial crimes for which they should and probably will serve considerable jail time.

    Jeffrey Webb did not do anything as an individual, he did all that he did as the president of the Cayman Islands Football Association; this is something that we all need to remember.

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