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Former FIFA executives accused of World Cup bribes

US prosecutors allege bribes were taken in Russia and Qatar World Cup bids
FIFA World Cup Bribes

The FBI's long-running investigation into allegations of football corruption has seen a new indictment revealed in the US District Court on Monday. Former FIFA executives were accused of bribes over voting for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Documents released by US prosecutors details how former Fifa executives took bribes in return for voting for Russia and Qatar to host the World Cup. Qatar was awarded the 2022 World Cup in 2010, with Russia hosting the tournament in 2018.

The documents claim several former FIFA executive committee members "were offered or received bribes in connection with their votes". 

The Department of Justice listed allegations against Nicolas Leoz, former president of CONMEBOL (South American Football Confederation). Leoz died last year under house arrest in his native Paraguay.

Former Brazil federation boss Ricardo Teixeira was also accused of accepting money alongside Leoz "in exchange for their votes in favour of Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup". Teixeira was banned from football for life by FIFA after taking bribes for marketing and media rights for football competitions between 2006 and 2012.

Disgraced former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner was previously banned from football for life and was allegedly paid £4m through offshore companies to vote for Russia's 2018 bid. Warner, from Trinidad and Tobago, was president of CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football).

Teixeira and Warner have thus far avoided extradition to the United States. 

Another former FIFA executive committee member - Guatemala football boss Rafael Salguero - was allegedly promised a bribe to vote for Russia. Salguero was banned from football in 2019 having admitted corruption.

Former 21st Century Fox executives have also been charged in the indictment after allegedly making payments to South American football officials to secure broadcast rights.

"The profiteering and bribery in international soccer have been deep-seated and commonly known practices for decades," said FBI assistant director-in-charge William Sweeney.

"The FBI... are investigating the illicit handshakes and backroom deals hidden in the infrastructure of soccer events, venues and marketing contracts.

"The first public charges date back to 2015. This should illustrate to everyone still hoping to score millions corruptly, we're going to find you."
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