ZURICH: Gianni Infantino, president of world football federation, issued the following welcome to the agreement providing for the restitution to FIFA and its subsidiaries of $201m corruptly diverted from media rights and other contracts:
“I am delighted to see that money which was illegally siphoned out of football is now coming back to be used for its proper purposes, as it should have been in the first place.
“I want to sincerely thank the US Justice authorities for their efforts in this respect, for their fast and effective approach in bringing these matters to a conclusion, and also for their trust in general.
“The truth is that, thanks to their intervention back in 2015, we have been able to fundamentally change FIFA from a toxic organisation at the time, to a highly esteemed and trusted global sports governing body.
“Thankfully, we are well past that unfortunate period in history now and it’s great to see significant funding being put at the disposal of the FIFA Foundation, which can positively impact so many people across the football world, especially through youth and community programmes.
“Since 2016, FIFA and the United States Department of Justice have been in close cooperation, and I believe this decision also acknowledges the significant progress we have made in terms of good governance and transparency, all of which was discussed and presented by FIFA officials and me in meetings with the authorities. Today, they know that with the FIFA Foundation this money is in good hands and will serve the purpose it is intended for.”
“On behalf of all future beneficiaries around the world, I would like to thank the US authorities for the trust placed in FIFA, and we will make sure that these funds are used properly and bring tangible benefits for people who really need it,” concluded the FIFA President.”