FIFA blocks $20 mil­lion to scan­dal-rid­den groups

The Pak Banker - - MARKETS/SPORTS -

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.

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