August 25, 2021

Former president of El Salvador’s national soccer federation pleads guilty to role in FIFA bribery scandal

On August 23, 2021, Reynaldo Vasquez, the former president of the Federación Salvadoreña de Fútbol (FESFUT), the national soccer federation in El Salvador, pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering conspiracy in the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York.  Vasquez was one of the almost 30 defendants initially accused in 2015 of using their positions in and connections to the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) to corrupt the organization by participating in a scheme to solicit and accept bribes and kickbacks in exchange for media and marketing rights for FIFA World Cup qualifying matches.  Vasquez, a citizen of El Salvador and Honduras, was extradited to the US in January of 2021, several years after being charged by federal prosecutors with racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, money laundering, and wire fraud.  He is currently scheduled to be sentenced on December 16, 2021.

In a separate but related development, on August 24, 2021, the US Department of Justice granted a joint petition filed by FIFA and various regional and national soccer federations for the remission of up to $201 million in seized funds; an initial distribution of about $32 million has already been approved.  FIFA, the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) and the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) have committed to distribute the funds through the newly created World Football Remission Fund that will be established under the FIFA Foundation, an independent organization focused on youth soccer programs and community outreach.

DOJ Press Release | Superseding indictment