Webb expresses ‘regret’ and remorse over bribery schemes

Jeffrey Webb 25

By Andrew Warshaw

April 19 – Jeffrey Webb, the former CONCACAF leader who fooled the world as the self-proclaimed arbiter of morality and good governance, says he “deeply regrets” taking bribes on his way to the top of football’s political ladder before falling dramatically from grace.

Webb, who led FIFA’s fight against racism as chairman of its anti-discrimination unit and was at one time touted as a potential FIFA president by a string of colleagues, admits he abused his position by enriching himself to the tune of millions of dollars.

Seemingly the voice of reason and transparency for the best part of two years until his sensational arrest in Zurich in May, 2015, little has been heard from Webb, currently under house arrest and awaiting trial, since being indicted by the US justice department on charges of racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering.

But in transcripts released by the US courts of guilty pleas from three of the defendants in the corruption investigation that brought FIFA to its knees, the former FIFA vice-president from the Cayman Islands, who initially pleaded not guilty before changing his plea, expressed total remorse for his conduct.

“I abused my position to obtain bribes and kickbacks for my personal benefit,” Webb, who apparently is suffering from a heart condition, told the judge in pleading guilty to seven counts of receiving bribes for the sale of commercial rights for 2018 and 2022 World Cup qualifying matches, and in 2012, 2013 and 2014, including for the Copa America Centenario tournament.

Webb, who used to talk of a brave new tomorrow as he lived a millionaire’s lifestyle as a leading FIFA figurehead, said he was told in 2012 that sports marketing companies would offer “side payments” in exchange for commercial rights to matches. In other words, that taking kickbacks was standard practise.

“I believed that such offers were common in this business,” he told the judge according to the transcripts. “I deeply regret my participation in this illegal conduct.”

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