Thursday, 26 November 2015

FIFA donates 48 confiscated luxury watches to charity


Nearly 50 luxury watches confiscated from football officials who had received them as “gifts” ahead of the World Cup in Brazil have been donated to charity, FIFA’s ethics committee said Thursday.

Vanguard reports the watches, estimated to be worth 25,000 Swiss francs ($24,400, 23,000 euros) a piece, were given to streetfootballworld, an international network of groups which uses football to help young people.

Ahead of last year’s World Cup, the Brazilian Football Confederation handed out 65 gift bags each containing a Parmigiani timepiece to FIFA Executive Committee officials and members of the 32 competing associations.

The gifts created a furore at the time but now disgraced FIFA bosses, including president Sepp Blatter, denied any corruption.

However, the ethics committee’s investigative branch has determined that the watches were “unauthorised gifts,” and called on officials to hand them over.

Current FIFA president Blatter, who has also been slapped with a 90-day suspension, also brushed aside the watch controversy when it hit the headlines last year, insisting there was no corruption involved and describing it as “a non-problem.”

Blatter has agreed to step down as FIFA boss following a special election in February, a concession made days after the United States charged 14 ex-FIFA officials and sports marketing executives with corruption amounting to $150-million going back decades.

Those indictments kicked off an unprecedented scandal at FIFA, sparking widespread calls for reform.

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