Blatter plans to stay on as FIFA president despite criminal probe

Blatter plans to stay on as FIFA president despite criminal probe
4.00 6

Published September 28th, 2015 - 21:09 GMT via

Rate Article:

PRINT Send Mail
comment (0)
Blatter says not resigning; Platini seeks ethics committee hearing
Blatter says not resigning; Platini seeks ethics committee hearing

FIFA president Joseph Blatter has told staff at world football's governing body he has done nothing wrong and does not intend to resign, his lawyer said Monday.

Meanwhile UEFA president Michel Platini has written to FIFA's ethics committee seeking to clear up any questions surrounding a payment of 2 million Swiss francs (around 2 million dollars) made to him by Blatter in 2011.

Swiss prosecuting authorities on Friday opened a criminal investigation against Blatter and questioned him "on suspicion of criminal mismanagement and - alternatively - misappropriation."

Blatter said he was "cooperating with the authorities, reiterated that he had done nothing illegal or improper and stated that he would remain as president of FIFA," lawyer Richard Cullen said.

As part of the investigation, the Swiss attorney general's office is looking into a "disloyal payment" made to European governing body chief Platini.

Cullen said Blatter, 79, told Swiss authorities that Platini "had a valuable employment relationship with FIFA serving as an adviser to the president" from 1998.

"He explained to the prosecutors that the payments were valid compensation and nothing more and were properly accounted for within FIFA including the withholding of Social Security contributions," Cullen said.

"Because of the continuing investigation President Blatter will answer no further questions at this time."

Platini said in a letter to UEFA member associations that he wrote Monday to FIFA's ethics committee asking for a hearing to provide any additional information needed on the affair.

The former France international said he had "not been accused of any wrongdoing" and had worked as a full-time FIFA employee between 1998 and 2002 on "a wide range of matters relating to football."

After initial payments for the work was made, the final outstanding amount of 2 million Swiss francs was paid in February 2011 and declared in full to the relevant authorities in accordance with Swiss law, Platini said.

"I am aware that these events may harm my image and my reputation and by consequence, the image of UEFA, the organisation of which I am proud to be president," he said.

"For these reasons, I wish to use all my energies to ensure than any issues or misunderstandings can be resolved as soon as possible."

Platini said he had asked the ethics commission "that I may come forward and provide whatever additional information may be needed in order to clear this matter up."

Blatter and Platini were reported at the weekend to be under investigation by the ethics committee over the payment made to Platini in February 2011, which Swiss prosecutors said was "allegedly made for work performed between January 1999 and June 2002."

Blatter was re-elected FIFA president for a fifth term on May 29 but said four days later he would lay down his mandate at an extraordinary FIFA congress which has now been scheduled for February 26.

Platini, who is one of three candidates who have so far stated their intention of running for the FIFA presidency, has been questioned by Swiss prosecutors as a witness.

In his letter Monday, Platini said he had been questioned "not as a person accused of any wrongdoing but simply in my capacity as a person providing information."

Platini had said in a statement on Friday he had "cooperated fully" with Swiss investigators.

"Regarding the payment that was made to me, I wish to state that this amount relates to work which I carried out under a contract with FIFA and I was pleased to have been able to clarify all matters relating to this with the authorities," he said.

© 2015 dpa GmbH

Add a new comment