New Delhi: In a sensational development on Wednesday, FIFA acknowledged for the first time that votes were bought in past World Cup hosting contests.
In an unprecedented step, FIFA admitted to US authorities on the scope of corruption, and accused accused South Africa of paying a $10 million bribe to secure votes for the 2010 World Cup.
FIFA also also highlighted how one of the main accused, former FIFA vice-president Jeffrey Webb, has allegedly been leading a champagne lifestyle despite agreeing to hand over millions of dollars as part of a plea deal with US authorities.
Now, the world governing body of football is seeking to claim "tens of millions of dollars" in bribe money seized by U.S. federal prosecutors.
According to a report in AP, FIFA had submitted a 22-page claim to the U.S. Attorney's Office in New York seeking a big share in restitution from more than $190 million already forfeited by football and marketing officials who pleaded guilty in the corruption case.
Tens of millions of dollars more is likely to be collected by U.S. 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.
In the report, AP also shared what FIFA asked for:
- $28.2 million for years of payments, including bonuses, flights and daily expenses, to officials it now says are corrupt
- $10 million for the ''theft'' of money that FIFA officials transferred as bribes to then-executive committee members to vote for South Africa as 2010 World Cup host
- ''substantial'' cost of legal bills since separate U.S. and Swiss federal probes of corruption in international soccer were revealed last May
- damages for harm to its reputation, plus other bribes and kickbacks for media rights to non-FIFA competitions but ''which were made possible because of the value of the FIFA brand''
World football is at the centre of multiple inquiries into bribery and misconduct and the award of World Cup tournaments.
On top of 39 individuals facing charges for over more than $200 million in bribes, its former leader Sepp Blatter and his heir apparent Michel Platini have both been banned.
(With Agency inputs)