FIFA blocks $20 million to scandal-ridden groups
FIFA has blocked $20 million in funding to the organizations that oversee soccer in the Americas, dealing yet another blow to the confederations at the center of a sprawling U.S. corruption case.
"In light of current proceedings involving individuals related to Conmebol and Concacaf, FIFA has put contributions towards these two confederations on hold until further notice," the global soccer regulator said in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg News.
"We are currently assessing further steps to be taken to increase the level of assurance which may again enable FIFA to release such funds in the future."
A U. S. Department of Justice probe into decades of corruption in global soccer has led to charges against 39 people for crimes including racketeering, money laundering and wire fraud.
Most of them are officials or sports marketing executives connected to Conmebol, the body responsible for soccer in South America, and to Concacaf, its equivalent in Central America, the Caribbean, and North America. The charges have created havoc in both organizations, which have seen operations badly disturbed by the probes.
"Concacaf has fulfilled all of FIFA's requests for documents and information regarding the new administrative, compliance, and procurement processes that have been implemented at the Confederation to ensure the issue is resolved in a timely manner," Concacaf said in an e-mail. Conmebol's director general Gorka Villar didn't reply to an e-mail seeking comment.
Police in Paraguay raided the offices of Conmebol on Jan. 8 to search for documents on behalf of U.S. authorities. For their parts, FIFA and the two regional organizations are conducting internal investigations that may reveal more evidence of wrongdoing.