Fifa has been embroiled in more unsavoury allegations after it emerged senior members of the executive committee were given $25,000 Parmigiani watches on arrival at the Brazil World Cup Finals.
The Sunday Times, which has broken several stories relating to alleged corrupt practices within football's world governing organisation, says each executive committee member received a watch on arrival at the five-star Grand Hyatt hotel in Sao Paulo. Fifa's ethical rules are supposed to ban executives receiving gifts of more than "symbolic or trivial value".
When confronted about the gift by the newspaper, UK executive committee Jim Boyce is reported to have denied receiving a watch, but later found them at the bottom of their gift bags
. Boyce said: "I got the shock of my life when I found that damned watch". Theo Zwanziger of Germany made similar claims.
Of the executive committee members who received the generous gift, three reported them to Fifa: Sunil Gulati of the US, Moya Dodd of Australia and Jordan's Prince Ali bin al-Hussein. In doing so they caused yet more embarrassment for Fifa, which had to cancel a plan to give each executive committee two further watches worth up to $42,000 when the tournament ended.
In a statement Fifa denied there had been any wrongdoing: "The Brazilian Football Federation (CBF) distributed commemorative watches at the Fifa World Cup in Brazil from their own sponsor (as part of the association's centennial celebrations) to various people, including the members of the Fifa executive committee. The ethics committee was informed about this accordingly and is dealing with the matter."
Fifa and its president Sepp Blatter have been immersed in a number of alleged corruption scandals, many of them involving the decision to allow Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup Finals. Blatter recently announced plans to stand for a fifth term as Fifa president, a position he has held since 1998.
Fifa's ethics investigator Michael Garcia recently delivered his 350-page report saying conclusions had been reached "concerning further action with respect to certain individuals". However, a decision has not yet been made on whether the report will be made public. A decision is due to be made by the ethics committee's adjudicatory chamber in November.