FIFA: World governing body seeks millions from former officials

    FIFA seeks millions from ex-officials
    FIFA seeks millions from ex-officials

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    Story highlights

    • FIFA seeking millions of dollars in damages from former officials
    • Papers filed in New York court appear to confirm bribery was rife
    • "Their actions have deeply tarnished the FIFA brand," organization says

    (CNN)FIFA is seeking millions of dollars in damages from former officials it says were corrupt and tarnished its reputation.

    Soccer's world governing body has filed papers in a New York court claiming the $190 million forfeited in assets by the 41 executives indicted in the U.S. in the past year should be used to compensate its victims.
    In other words, FIFA itself.
    Facing a U.S. Justice department probe -- numerous officials have been indicted over allegations of racketeering and money laundering -- FIFA's legal action sees the organization trying to wrestle back credibility and authority under its new president Gianni Infantino.
    The document filed Wednesday argues bribery was rife among FIFA's former top brass and that many of them sold their World Cup votes on multiple occasions.
    "The convicted defendants abused the positions of trust they held at FIFA and other international football organizations and caused serious and lasting damage to FIFA, its member associations and the football community," said Infantino.
    "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 defendants diverted this money not just from FIFA but from players, coaches and fans worldwide who benefit from the programmes that FIFA runs to develop and promote football.
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    "These dollars were meant to build football fields, not mansions and pools; to buy football kits, not jewelery and cars; and to fund youth player and coach development, not to underwrite lavish lifestyles for football and sports marketing executives.
    "When FIFA recovers this money, it will be directed back to its original purpose: for the benefit and development of international football."
    Former FIFA officials Jack Warner, Chuck Blazer and Jeffrey Webb are among those being sued. The organization is seeking $4.4m from Warner and $5.3m from Blazer.
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    There is a reference to a $10m payment to a bank account run by former FIFA vice president Warner by the South African Football Association as a bribe to help it win the 2010 World Cup.
    It claims Warner and Blazer, who turned informant to help the U.S. government expose wrongdoing in FIFA, lied about the payment and disguised its nature in order to funnel the money through FIFA's accounts.
    Warner maintains he is innocent and is battling extradition charges to the U.S., while Blazer pleaded guilty to a string of charges in 2013 and is serving a life ban from soccer.
    The papers also allege Webb, a former FIFA vice president took a $3m bribe from a sports marketing company that helped him "purchase a small mansion and install a swimming pool."
    FIFA is seeking $2m from Webb, who pleaded not guilty to federal racketeering and bribery charges in July last year.