Saturday, February 24, 2018
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Soccer

amid turmoil, fifa execs took $80M in pay

GENEVA — Three former top FIFA officials arranged to pay themselves more than $80 million over the past five years, including promises of tens of millions of dollars in payments that were quietly approved in May 2015, days after the indictments of a host of top FIFA executives on corruption charges, the sport's governing body said Friday.

FIFA accused the three officials — former president Sepp Blatter and his former deputies Jerome Valcke and Markus Kattner — of mounting a "coordinated effort" to enrich themselves through a series of raises, bonuses and other payments.

The three also were accused of modifying the termination clauses in some of their employment contracts to ensure that they would receive multimillion-dollar payouts even if they were fired for cause, said lawyers for the U.S. firm Quinn Emanuel, which FIFA hired to investigate its organization.

"They had the authority they needed," Quinn Emanuel wrote of Blatter, Valcke and Kattner, "and they simply told payroll and (the human resources department) … how much should be paid out and to whom."

Some of the payments appear to break Swiss law, FIFA lawyers said.

Blatter's lawyers said his pay arrangements were above board. Valcke and Kattner did not respond to FIFA's statement.

None of the three men currently work for FIFA. Blatter was banned from soccer by FIFA in December and replaced by a new president, Gianni Infantino, in a February election. FIFA suspended Valcke last fall and fired him in January amid corruption accusations. Valcke was replaced temporarily as secretary-general by Kattner, FIFA's finance director. That effectively placed Kattner in control of FIFA's finances in the months leading to the presidential election. He was fired in May after FIFA said it had discovered he had breached his fiduciary duty.

et cetera

Gymnastics: Donnell Whittenburg led the all-around after the first day of the U.S. Championships at Hartford, Conn. He had 89.9 points, just ahead of three-time defending champion Sam Mikulak (89.85). The final round is Sunday. Eighteen men will be chosen from this event to compete in this month's Olympic trials, where they will vie for spots on the five-man team competing in August in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Olympics: Ten athletes were chosen for a team that will represent the world's refugees in Rio de Janeiro. Five are from South Sudan, two from Syria, two from Congo and one from Ethiopia. They will compete in track and field, swimming and judo.

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Published: 02/24/18