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Long-time Fifa legal director Villiger leaves organisation

Fifa’s long-time legal director Marco Villiger has left the organisation after more than a decade’s service.

The Swiss lawyer (pictured) was one of the few remaining senior officials linked to the Blatter era and led the governing body’s response to US-led investigations of corruption in the organisation.

Villiger said in his statement that he was “seeking for new challenges” after a successful World Cup in Russia.

The lawyer hired legal firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan to conduct an internal investigation as Fifa faced the corruption allegations. The investigation led Fifa to portray itself to US authorities as a victim of corruption instead of complicit, and to apply for tens of millions of dollars in restitution from assets forfeited by soccer and marketing officials who pleaded guilty of bribery linked to broadcasting and commercial rights deals.

Fifa secretary general Fatma Samoura led the tributes to Villiger, in spite of his being a signatory to a recent complaint to the Fifa Ethics Committee that she had a conflict of interest over the vote to host the 2026 World Cup.

“I congratulate him wholeheartedly on his great career within Fifa, in which he has consistently demonstrated his expertise and professionalism, as well as his dedication to this great organization,” Samoura said.