Lifestyle & Belief

FIFA's former president, son-in-law accepted millions in kickbacks


Former president of the Brazilian Football Federation Ricardo Teixeira watches the preliminary draw of the 2014 FIFA World Cup on July 30, 2011, in Rio de Janeiro.


Michael Regan

FIFA – soccer’s world governing body – admitted today that its former president and a high-ranking official accepted millions in a kickback scandal that has plagued the organization for years.

Ricardo Teixeira, head of Brazil’s soccer federation, accepted 12.74 million Swiss francs (about $13 million) from bankrupt Swiss marketing company ISL in the 1990s, BBC reported. 

Joao Havelange, Teixeira’s father-in-law, received 1.5 million francs in 1997 near the end of his 24-year tenure as FIFA president.

The information – released today – came from a Swiss investigation into a bribery scandal. In a plea deal, the two Brazilian men repaid 5.5 million francs to escape criminal charges and remain anonymous.

However, a Swiss judge ruled media organizations could see the full, 41-page document. FIFA withdrew from the case late last year, BBC said.

“FIFA is pleased that the ISL non-prosecution order can now be made public,” the organization said in a news release.

The money came in exchange for World Cup commercial deals, The Associated Press reported.

More from GlobalPost: FIFA taps war crimes lawyer to boot out corruption

According to the Swiss investigation, the men “unlawfully used assets entrusted to (them) for (their) own enrichment several times,” the AP said.

Havelange, 96, also resigned from his position with the International Olympic Committee last year in light of a similar investigation.

Teixeira has quit his roles with FIFA’s executive, Brazil’s soccer federation and the 2014 World Cup organizing committee.

Next week, FIFA plans to announce whom it will hire to boot out corruption for good, Reuters reported.

On July 17, the FIFA executive will nominate two chairpersons for its new ethics committees, one for investigations and the other for punishment.

More from GlobalPost: Ricardo Teixeira quits World Cup, CBF