Belgium may seek compensation over failed World Cup bid
The Royal Belgian Football Federation (KBVB) may seek compensation over its unsuccessful 2018 World Cup bid amid the corruption scandal engulfing FIFA.
Belgium launched a joint bid with the Netherlands for the rights to host the 2018 World Cup but finished third among four candidates as Russia topped the voting five years ago.
The FBI is investigating allegations of widespread corruption, including during the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, after nine past and present FIFA officials were among 14 individuals indicted on charges of racketeering conspiracy and corruption following a request by United States authorities last month.
FIFA is also leading an internal investigation, while Swiss authorities are looking into claims of bribery, and KBVB president Francois De Keersmaecker plans to seek over $5 million in compensation if there is evidence of criminal activity.
"If fraud is proven, it seems obvious to me that we seek damages," De Keersmaecker was quoted as telling Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad.
"The federation has put a lot of money and effort into this matter."
Flemish Minister for Sport Philippe Muyters added: "First, fraud must be established for a claim to be made. But if it was the case, we will certainly consult with the other partners in the bid to possibly make a joint claim."
On Wednesday, Swiss attorney general Michael Lauber revealed 53 "suspicious" banking relations were being looked into in a "complex" investigation.
Lauber said nine terabytes of data had been seized by his office as they probe suspected irregularities in the bidding process for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and the tournament scheduled to take place in Qatar four years later.