KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: FIFA president Gianni Infantino, not even three weeks in the job, has fully endorsed the world federation’s legal action to reclaim monies from the FIFAGate fraudsters.

The world football federation has submitted a formal ‘request for Restitution’) to the US Attorney’s Office and the US Probation Office for the Eastern District of New York, claiming damages from 41 former officials of FIFA and other football organisations.

Gianni Infantino . . . endorsing legal action

These include former vice-presidents Jack Warner (Trinidad & Tobago) and Jeffrey Webb (Cayman Islands) as well as a string of one-time executive committee members including Chuck Blazer (United States).

Webb and Blazer have admitted corruption charges but Warner denies wrongdoing and is resisting a United States extradition application.

Infantino succeeded disgraced and banned Sepp Blatter at the head of a widely-derided organisation on February 26

‘Lasting damage’

He said: “The convicted 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.”

FIFA estimates tens of millions of dollars were siphoned off from commercial deals illegally through bribery, kickbacks and other corrupt. This amount is likely to increase as the investigation continues.

The US government has already announced forfeiture amounts that should cover FIFA’s claims for damages.

FIFA has said it is seeking restitution for money “the defendants pocketed to enrich themselves, but also for the salaries, benefits and bonuses that were paid to them during their tenure at FIFA and other football organisations.

“FIFA is also seeking money from the defendants for the damage their actions caused to FIFA’s brand and reputation, its intellectual property and its business relationships.”

‘Lavish lifestyles’

Infantino added: “The defendants diverted this money not just from FIFA but from players, coaches and fans worldwide who benefit from the programmes that FIFA runs to develop and promote football.

“These dollars were meant to build football fields, not mansions and pools; to buy football kits, not jewellery and cars; and to fund youth player and coach development, not to underwrite lavish lifestyles for football and sports marketing executives.”

Monies eventually recovered would not be retained but would invested in worldwide football development.