FIFA's got a new man in its captain's chair, and it isn't wasting time trying to move past its recent fraud scandal. First item on the list: The soccer organization wants its money back.
That's right: FIFA is asking the U.S. government to return bribe money it confiscated during raids that blew FIFA's history of bribes and fraud wide open.
To build a case for having the money returned, FIFA took some pretty strong steps toward turning over a new leaf. It admitted that votes were sold during the World Cup bids for 2018 and 2022, which were won by Russia and Qatar.
FIFA blamed the individual voters in the organization, who are now under investigation by U.S. authorities, and presented itself as a victim of those actions, rather than a guilty party itself.
FIFA seeks millions from defendants named in US investigation - https://t.co/nGMgXp0Dqs
— FIFA Media (@fifamedia) March 16, 2016
At stake is more than $190 million in bribes U.S. officials seized from FIFA executives.
At the same time, FIFA also insisted it wouldn't re-vote for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, despite clear evidence and admission of fraud. While 2018 may well be too close to find a suitable substitute, some expected FIFA to re-cast votes for 2022, with the United States being a frontrunner to take Qatar's place as host.
The decision comes one month after FIFA elected Gianni Infantino to succeed Sepp Blatter as the organization's president. Blatter is serving a six-year suspension from soccer and is reportedly under investigation by Swiss official.
We aren't legal experts over here, but it seems there's a big difference between one rogue fraudster and a bevy of illegal actions fostered by corrupt environment. For years, FIFA was that environment. It seems unlikely the feds could look at FIFA and see it as a suddenly blameless victim, but stranger things have happened.