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Fifa admits to bribes in World Cup voting contests

Published 16/03/2016

New Fifa President Gianni Infantino is seeking to distance himself from past corruptions at the governing body
New Fifa President Gianni Infantino is seeking to distance himself from past corruptions at the governing body

While acknowledging for the first time that votes were bought in past World Cup hosting contests, Fifa is seeking to claim "tens of millions of dollars" in bribe money seized by US federal prosecutors.

Fifa submitted a 22-page claim to the US Attorney's Office in New York that seeks a big share in restitution from more than 190 million US dollars (£135m) already forfeited by soccer and marketing officials who pleaded guilty in the sprawling corruption case.

Tens of millions of dollars more is likely to be collected by US authorities when sentences are handed down, and from dozens of officials currently indicted but who have denied bribery charges or are fighting extradition.

Fifa claims it is the victim of corrupt individuals, despite widespread criticism that bribe-taking was embedded in its culture in the presidencies of Joao Havelange and Sepp Blatter, who was forced from office after 17 years by the current scandal.

"The convicted defendants abused the positions of trust they held at Fifa and other international football organisations and caused serious and lasting damage to Fifa," President Gianni Infantino said in a statement.

"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."

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From Belfast Telegraph