Global soccer federation FIFA wants the former president of Colombia’s Soccer Federation to return $517,000 he admittedly received through bribery and fraud.
On Wednesday, the football’s world governing body submitted documents to the US authorities in an effort to reclaim tens of millions of dollars pocketed illegally by corrupt FIFA members and other football officials.
This document seeks damages from 41 former FIFA officials and other football organisations.
Luis Bedoya, Colombia’s former soccer president, is cited on a list of officials for allegedly having illegally procured in excess of a half a million US dollars.
“The defendants abused the positions of trust they held at FIFA and other international football organisations and caused serious and lasting damage to FIFA, its member associations and the football community. 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,” said Gianni Infantino in his debut as FIFA president.
This latest development is part of an ongoing investigation by the US Department of Justice.
FIFA in its capacity as a “victimized institution” seeks to recuperate millions of dollars of misappropriated funds.
Bedoya was subject to an investigation from the Colombian prosecutor’s office in 2015 amid suspicions of illegal activity regarding financial transactions.
This is another episode in the ongoing corruption scandal which led to the suspension of long-standing president, Sepp Blatter and criminal investigations against several other high ranking officials.
The newly elected president of FIFA hit out at the corrupt officials for diverting valuable funds away from developing the game at grassroots level worldwide.
“Those dollars were to build football pitches, not mansions and pools; to buy soccer jerseys, not jewellery and cars, and to finance the grassroots and the development of coaches, not for football executives and marketing to keep a luxurious lifestyle,” said Infantino.