Former FIFA executives took bribes in return for voting for Russia and Qatar to host the World Cup, according to US prosecutors.
In what could be a highly significant twist in the FBI’s long-running investigation into allegations of football corruption, a new indictment was revealed in the US District Court on Monday.
The documents claim several former FIFA executive committee members “were offered or received bribes in connection with their votes”.
The Department of Justice made allegations against Nicolas Leoz, the former president of South American governing body Conmebol, and ex-Brazil federation supremo Ricardo Teixeira.
Both are accused of taking money “in exchange for their votes in favour of Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup”.
Disgraced former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner of Trinidad and Tobago was also allegedly paid £4m through a host of offshore shell companies to back Russia’s 2018 bid.
Russia beat England to win the right to host the most recent World Cup in 2018. Warner was president of the North and Central American and Caribbean confederation Concacaf.
Another former FIFA ExCo member – Guatemala football Chief Rafael Salguero – was allegedly promised a bribe to vote for Russia.
Leoz died last year under house arrest in his native Paraguay, having fought extradition to the US. Teixeira has been banned from the game for life for taking bribes for marketing and media rights for football competitions between 2006 and 2012.
Teixeira and Warner, who is also banned for life, have avoided extradition to the US. Salguero was banned last year, having admitted corruption.
Almost 10 years have now passed since FIFA controversially voted for Russia and Qatar to host the sport’s showpiece event.
But it was only in 2015, following a dramatic dawn raid at a Zurich hotel close to the governing body’s headquarters, that the US Department of Justice announced it was investigating football and TV executives enriching themselves through the game.
The scandal sparked the worst crisis in FIFA’s history, with its disgraced president Sepp Blatter eventually standing aside.
A total of 42 people have been indicted, with 26 pleading guilty.
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