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World football federation FIFA is being handed back $201m by the United States justice system from the restitution forced out of the FIFAGate crooks on the threat of lengthy jail terms.

For all this appears a vast sum it takes no account of how much was missed, how many ‘small players’ escaped, how much was skimmed off in earlier years by and how much more might have been drained from both those men who died before being arraigned or hid behind non-extradition laws – such as Brazilian football bosses Ricardo Teixeira and Marco Polo del Nero.

Another major figure for whom there is no account was Jack Warner, long-time FIFA vice-president and president of the central and north American body CONCACAF. He is still holed up and fighting extradition from Trinidad & Tobago.

The FIFAGate scandal exploded on the game in May 2015 when seven senior international football bosses were detained in Zurich, pending extradition, on the eve of FIFA Congress. More than 50 men and one known woman were subject to criminal charges.

So far 27 individuals and four corporate entities have pleaded guilty with two convicted at trial [ex-South American president Juan Angel Napout and ex-Brazilian FA president Jose Maria Marin].

The restitution agreement was announced by Jacquelyn Kasulis, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

She said: “Money stolen by corrupt soccer officials and sports marketing executives through fraud and greed will be returned to where it belongs and used to benefit the sport.

“From the start, this investigation and prosecution have been focused on bringing wrongdoers to justice and restoring ill-gotten gains to those who work for the benefit of the beautiful game.”

The DOJ said $32.3 million in forfeited funds has been approved for an initial distribution to FIFA, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL and a number of national associations.

A FIFA statement said a specific World Football Remission Fund would be operated under the auspices of the quasi-independent FIFA Foundation which has “earmarked amounts to projects within CONCACAF and CONMEBOL, given that they suffered significantly as a result of the criminal activities.”

FIFA president Gianni Infantino welcomed the restitution order.

He said: “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.

“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.”

Source: Keir Radnedge| AIPS Football Delegate

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