Saturday 20 January 2018

Banned Fifa official Jeffrey Webb pleads not guilty to racketeering

Jeffrey Webb was among seven Fifa officials detained in Switzerland
Jeffrey Webb was among seven Fifa officials detained in Switzerland

A former senior Fifa official has pleaded not guilty to racketeering and bribery charges in a corruption case that has sent shockwaves through the football world.

Jeffrey Webb was released on 10 million dollars (£6.4 million) bond following his arraignment in federal court in Brooklyn, New York. His lawyer declined comment after the hearing.

Webb, 50, was among seven Fifa officials detained in Switzerland. The rest are fighting extradition.

Prosecutors allege the defendants plotted to pay bribes of more than 150 million dollars (£100 million) over a 24-year period. The payments were tied to the award of broadcasting and hosting rights for the World Cup and other tournaments.

Since the indictment, Webb has been banned provisionally and replaced as the Fifa vice president from the North and Central American and Caribbean region. Webb was also president of the regional governing body Concacaf.

Webb will be required to stay within 20 miles of the federal courthouse in Brooklyn and wear an electronic monitoring device as conditions of his release. He surrendered three passports - two from the United Kingdom and one from the Cayman Islands.

Webb's bond was secured by 10 people including his wife and her parents, who were in the courtroom. He did not speak except to say "Yes, your honor" when the judge asked if he understood the charges.

A total of 14 men - nine football officials and five marketing executives - were indicted by the US Justice Department in May, including former Fifa vice president Jack Warner, who is resisting extradition from Trinidad and Tobago.

Webb promised reform when he was elected in 2012 to succeed Warner as president of Concacaf.

Press Association

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