World football’s governing body has donated 48 Swiss luxury watches – each worth as much as a modest new car – that officials received as gifts, in violation of the organisation’s code of ethics.
FIFA’s ethics committee said on Thursday that it had demanded the watches be turned over, and then redistributed to an international non-profit organisation, streetfootballworldexternal link.
The watches were included in gift bags that the Brazilian confederation (CBF) handed out to football officials, including members of FIFA’s executive committee, during a FIFA congress prior to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
An appraisal found that the watches had a market value of CHF25,000 ($26,600) apiece – about triple the price FIFA earlier stated that the Brazilians had paid for each of them from Swiss sponsor and watchmaker Parmigiani Fleurier.
According to the ethics committee, not all of the 65 officials that the CBF initially said it had provided with watches actually received one.
In September, the committee said it decided not to open disciplinary proceedings against officials, as long as they agreed to return the watches.
''After contacting all potential recipients, 48 watches were returned to the investigatory chamber of the ethics committee,'' FIFA said in a statement.
The non-profit, it added, “will directly invest all resources generated through the sale of the watches into initiatives across Brazil that use football to drive social change”.
swissinfo.ch and agencies