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SportsBusiness: How FIFA plans to use forfeited $201m seized during corruption probe

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FIFA, NFF

World football governing body, FIFA has revealed how it plans to spend the forfeited $201m that it will be receiving from the US Department of Justice.

The forfeited funds were seized during a corruption probe that involved former officials of the football body, and the repayment is said to begin with an initial $32.3m.

Recall that more than 50 defendants have been criminally charged since the Department of Justice unveiled its corruption probe in 2015 following the biggest in the sport’s history that involved collusion between officials from FIFA and sports marketing executives.

The collusion led to fraud, bribery, racketeering and money laundering, with twenty-seven persons and four corporate entities pleading guilty, and two persons convicted at trial.

The money, which was seized from the bank accounts of the culprits, will be used by the Fifa Foundation, an independent foundation.

It will help finance football-related projects which, Fifa says, can “positively impact so many people across the football world, especially through youth and community programmes.”

Read Also: SportsBusiness: Nigerian medalists at World Athletics U-20 to get cash awards for first time ever

Recall that the 2015 scandal led to the end of Sepp Blatter’s 17-year reign as FIFA president.

It was the election that followed that welcomed the reign of curewnt president Gianni Infantino as Blatter’s successor in February 2016.

“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 Infantino, who is in his second term as president.

“I want to sincerely thank the US Justice authorities for their efforts in this respect, for their fast and effective approach in bringing these matters to a conclusion, and also for their trust in general.

“The truth is that, thanks to their intervention back in 2015, we have been able to fundamentally change Fifa from a toxic organisation at the time, to a highly esteemed and trusted global sports governing body.”

Infantino added, “Today, they (US Department of Justice) 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,” said Infantino.

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