Football: FIFA calls time on luxury watches given as 'gifts' by Brazilian Football Confederation

PARIS (AFP) - FIFA officials were on Thursday given until Oct 24 to hand back luxury watches offered as "gifts" by the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF).

The order was handed down by the Investigatory Chamber of FIFA's Ethics Committee.

A statement said that the CBF handed out "65 gift bags each containing a Parmigiani watch, to a group comprising the 28 officials on the FIFA executive committee, a representative from each of the 32 member associations competing in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, and a representative from each of the 10 member associations in (South American Federation) Conmebol."

The gifts were distributed to coincide with the FIFA Congress and the start of the World Cup in Brazil in June, with the CBF claiming they had obtained the watches at a cost of US$8,750 (S$11,000) each.

The Investigatory Chamber of the game's world governing body said that an independent appraisal determined that one of the watches was worth 25,000 Swiss Francs (S$33,800) on the market.

They declared that the CBF "should not have offered the watches, and... either returned it or... reported the matter to the Investigatory Chamber."

They added that they "will not pursue further formal ethics proceedings in this matter against officials who submit the Parmigiani watch they received from CBF to the Secretariat of the Investigatory Chamber by no later than October 24, 2014."

Following that deadline, all watches submitted to the Investigatory Chamber "will be donated to an independent non-profit organisation or organisations committed to corporate social responsibility projects in Brazil."

Later on Thursday, English Football Association chairman Greg Dyke confirmed he was one of the officials given a watch.

Dyke, who will return the gift, said the watch was inside a bag and he had intended to give it to charity along with other items.

"During the FIFA Congress in Sao Paulo, a bag with a watch inside was left in my hotel room by the Brazilian FA. I had no idea of the value and it has been left untouched in my office since returning to England," Dyke said in a statement.

"We are already taking steps to return the bag and its contents - which are still in their original packaging.

"I welcome FIFA's investigation on the matter, including their intention to donate the items to good causes back in Brazil.

"The fact that gifts of great value are being handed out randomly and often with the recipient unaware shows up a culture in need of change.

"I had actually set the bag aside in my box of items to donate to charity."