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 Post subject: Re: THE (bent) FIFA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2015 9:23 pm 
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The man responsible for overseeing Fifa’s reform process in the current crisis has confirmed that Russia and Qatar may be stripped of their World Cup hosting rights if conclusive new proof of corruption emerges.

“If evidence should emerge that the awards to Qatar and Russia only came about thanks to bought votes then the awards could be invalidated,” said Domenico Scala, the independent chairman of Fifa’s audit and compliance committee, in an interview with the Swiss newspaper SonntagsZeitung. “This evidence has not yet been brought forth.”

Scala has made similar comments before but in light of the ongoing Swiss investigation and confirmation that the FBI has now widened its probe to include 2018 and 2022, his intervention takes on a new significance.

New evidence has emerged, meanwhile, alleging that the former Fifa vice president Jack Warner used a $10m payment from Fifa, made on behalf of South African World Cup organisers, for money laundering, personal loans and credit card payments.

The new evidence, obtained by the BBC, appears to show how the 2008 payments from Fifa – ostensibly for a Diaspora Legacy Programme promised by South African World Cup organisers – ended up in accounts controlled by Warner.

JTA Supermarkets, the largest chain in Warner’s native Trinidad & Tobago, received $4.8m, according to accounts seen by the BBC.

The US indictment that charged 14 Fifa officials of 47 counts of racketeering and fraud had earlier alleged that Warner “laundered the funds through accounts held in the name of a large supermarket chain and affiliated investment company in Trinidad”.

The documents also show $360,000 of the Fifa money was withdrawn by people connected to Warner, who was president of Concacaf for 21 years until he was suspended in 2011. He stepped down from his Fifa position a year later.

Nearly $1.6m was used to pay Warner’s credit cards and personal loans, the largest of which was $410,000, according to the BBC.

The new documents show how Warner, implicated down the years in a string of scandals over two decades during which he ran Concacaf as a personal fiefdom alongside the general secretary Chuck Blazer, moved the money around.

Blazer has been cooperating with the FBI since at least 2011, when he was confronted over huge unpaid tax bills on undeclared commission on marketing and TV deals, and pleaded guilty to a string of charges in 2013.

He claimed in his testimony to a US judge, made public last week, that he was bribed in return for his vote on the 2010 World Cup.

The $10m payments, revealed in the US indictment, were among the factors that led to the Fifa president Sepp Blatter promising to step down last week.

His right-hand man, Jérôme Valcke, was revealed to have been told about the payments in letters from the World Cup organiser Danny Jordaan and from the South African Football Association (Safa).

Fifa had earlier claimed “Neither the secretary general Jérôme Valcke nor any other member of Fifa’s senior management were involved in the initiation, approval and implementation of the project.”

In a lengthy statement on Sunday, Safa again insisted that it had devised the programme in good faith and that it had not been created in return for Concacaf’s vote in 2004. “It is a shame that this noble effort to support football development has now been turned on its head and camouflaged as a bribe rather than recognising the good that it was intended to deliver to the football programmes of Concacaf,” it said.

Warner has continued to deny wrongdoing and in a televised address last week entitled “the gloves are off” he threatened to unveil an “avalanche” of evidence that would show why Blatter had resigned as Fifa president just days after winning a fifth term.

But there were renewed calls in Trinidad & Tobago to explain what he did with the cash and why it was paid.

Brent Sancho, Trinidad & Tobago’s sports minister, told the BBC: “I’m devastated because a lot of that money should have been back in football, back in the development of children playing the sport. It is a travesty. Mr Warner should answer the questions.”

In a separate development, the Sunday Times has published new claims from a former Fifa executive committee member saying the vote to host the 2010 World Cup was tampered with to ensure South Africa won.

The claims, dating from the newspaper’s 2010 investigation that led to the suspension of two Fifa executive committee members ahead of the 2018-22 World Cup vote, allege that Morocco actually won the right to host the tournament ahead of South Africa but the result was altered by Fifa.

The former executive committee member Ismail Bhamjee, from Botswana, stated that following conversations with his fellow voters he had calculated Morocco should have beaten South Africa by two votes in 2004. He acknowledged that his fellow members could have lied to him about who they voted for but claimed that Fifa deliberately tampered with the vote.

“After talking with everybody ... Whose votes went where? We’re all colleagues, you know. And then we found out that actually Morocco won by two votes,” the Sunday Times reported Bhamjee as saying.

Bhamjee, who resigned from Fifa’s executive committee after being implicated in a World Cup ticketing scandal in 2006 and was then suspended in 2010 following the Sunday Times investigation, had also alleged bribery during the 2018-22 race. The Sunday Times says that it supplied the evidence to Fifa five years ago but that it had not acted on it.



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 Post subject: Re: THE (bent) FIFA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 1:28 pm 
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Jack Warner - one of the former FIFA executives at the centre of the corruption scandal - has been filmed leaving a police station in his native Trinidad and Tobago.

The former governing body's vice president, who is wanted by US authorities on charges of corruption and money laundering, left the station in the town of Arouca before getting into a waiting car and being driven away.

Trinidad and Tobago's justice minister Prakash Ramadhar has urged Warner to fly to the United States and hand himself in to authorities. But Warner denies all the allegations that have been made against him.

Ramadhar says Warner, one of 14 people wanted on suspicion of multiple offences in connected to his FIFA dealings, can still "do the right thing" and end a process which he feels is damaging the sport in the country.

The attorney general of Trinidad, Garvin Nicholas, has said Warner’s legal battle against extradition could last years because of its complex nature.

And Ramdhar said: "If he loves this country and he cares about its future, and the future of its children in particular, then he has to set the right example.

"He may have fallen short but he can do the right thing in some way at this stage and remedy the situation by taking responsibility and going to a trial.

"He can enter a plea but let there be finality as soon as possible rather than allowing us to play this drip by drip, Chinese water torture."

When asked if he felt Warner should voluntarily fly to New York to face trial, Ramadhar said: "That is what we are asking for.

"This is a problem for all of Trinidad and Tobago and the solution rests in the heart, conscience and in the hands of Mr Warner. If it is that Mr Warner cares about this country then he should go to the US and have his trial there.

"At the end of the day we don’t want technicalities. We want truth. As a lawyer, and I will tell you that for many years the innocent always rush for an early trial, so as a patriot I am asking for him to do so."


The best Warner can hope for is doing a deal with the FBI he's clearly guilty and he's lucky his own government aren't coming after him as the money he took was meant for the people of T&T but I'm guessing he's greased the right palms to keep the authorities away at home.

His best chance is doing a deal with the FBI that nails Blatter as he is obviously the top target but I think Warner would have to hand them the smoking gun on all the top guys to get any sort of deal as he must be high up on the list of targets.


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 Post subject: Re: THE (bent) FIFA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2015 7:59 pm 
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Sepp Blatter could be open to the possibility of standing for re-election as Fifa president, the BBC understands.

The 79-year-old said he was standing down as the head of world football's governing body less than two weeks ago, just four days into his fifth term.

A new president was expected to be elected, probably in mid-December.

But a source close to Blatter has told the BBC the Swiss could make an audacious bid to stay on if no suitable alternative candidate emerges.

"Everything is open", said the source.

Blatter will hold meetings over the coming days when he will gauge whether he still retains enough support to seek an astonishing sixth term as president.

FIifa has officially referred inquiries over Blatter's intentions to his resignation speech on 2 July, in which he promised to start work on new reforms and said "I shall not be a candidate" in the next election.

However, in 2011 Blatter also claimed his fourth term would be his last, only to renege on the pledge. It is now possible he could attempt a similar, but even more controversial U-turn.

Any attempt by Blatter to cling to power will be met with fierce opposition in the wake of the FBI-led corruption investigation that has plunged Fifa into turmoil and seen the arrest of several senior football officials.

Many critics have demanded that Blatter steps down immediately, rather than wait until an extraordinary meeting of the Fifa Congress in the winter.

Many feared he would use his remaining months in charge to try to ensure the election of a favoured successor. Now it appears he may choose to sensationally stand himself.

Tellingly, the man entrusted to lead Fifa out of its latest crisis has appeared to warn Blatter not to rethink his resignation.

Domenico Scala, chairman of Fifa's audit and compliance committee, said it was "indispensable to follow with the initiated process of the president's change as has been announced".

The statement was in response to a report in Swiss newspaper Schweiz am Sonntag that Blatter had not ruled out remaining in office after receiving support from football officials in Africa and Asia.

But Scala, who has been given the task of overseeing the election of Blatter's successor, said: "For me, the reforms are the central topic."

His statement is the first sign of potential tension between the pair.

One of the reforms Scala has recommended, as well as greater financial transparency and a new governance structure, is three terms of a maximum 12 years in total for both the president and Fifa executive committee members.

Blatter has already served 17 years as the sport's most powerful figure.

Campaign group New Fifa Now has insisted an independent reform commission is the only means of ensuring meaningful changes to the way football is run.

Ever since he announced his resignation, those vying to replace Blatter have been considering when to make their move.

If he does stand again, he may look to present himself as the best means of avoiding one confederation - such as Uefa - gaining excessive power.


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 Post subject: Re: THE (bent) FIFA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 6:08 pm 
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Swiss investigators are looking into 53 possible cases of money laundering and 104 incidents of suspicious activity in Swiss bank accounts as part of their investigation into the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

The head of Fifa’s audit and compliance committee, Domenico Scala, has already reiterated that there could be a revote for 2018 World Cup in Russia and the 2022 tournament in Qatar if clear evidence of bribery emerged.

The Swiss attorney general Michael Lauber, giving an update into the Swiss investigation that is running in parallel to an FBI inquiry that has already resulted in 14 executives being charged and plunged Fifa into crisis, said investigators were examining “nine terabytes” of data from Fifa’s Zurich headquarters and Swiss banks.

“I am well aware of the enormous public interest in our investigation. Equally enormous is the public interest in an independent criminal procedure,” Lauber said. “Our investigation is of great complexity and quite substantial. To give you an example: The SAG [Swiss attorney general’s office] has seized around nine terabytes of data. So far, our investigative team has obtained evidence concerning 104 banking relations; be aware that every banking relation represents several bank accounts.”

He warned there would be interviews of “all relevant people” and specifically did not rule out interviewing the Fifa president Sepp Blatter, who promised to step down in the wake of the US indictment, and the general secretary, Jérôme Valcke, who is under pressure over what he knew about a $10m payment from South Africa to the Caribbean that US prosecutors claimed was a bribe.

At a press conference in Bern, Lauber said that Swiss banks had fulfilled their obligations to report suspicious banking activity and that the Swiss investigation had not been instigated as a result of the FBI investigation.

The Swiss investigation into the controversial and chaotic World Cup bidding process – in which England lost out for the 2018 tournament and the US among the bidders for 2022 – was made public on the same day that US prosecutors alleged a “World Cup of fraud” stretching back two generations and dramatically arrested seven executives in Zurich.

It has seized data and documents during two visits to Fifa’s headquarters and collected documents from Swiss marketing agency Kentaro relating to a friendly between Brazil and Argentina in Doha in 2010.

Fifa argued that the Swiss investigation was as a result of it handing over documents relating to an investigation by its ethics committee chief, Michael Garcia, and that as such it was in fact the “injured party”.

“For the time being Fifa is the injured party, that is true. They filed the report and this is the actual status as we conduct investigations against unknown persons,” said Lauber, but he warned that could change.

“We didn’t start the investigation against Fifa. We started the investigations based on that [report] and based on a mutual legal assistance request from the US.”

Asked whether the Swiss investigation, which is clearly already broader in scope than Garcia’s given the Swiss prosecutors’ ability to examine bank accounts, would tally with Fifa’s release of the full Garcia report Lauber said he was working to his own timetable and was not concerned about “collateral damage” elsewhere.

“We are faced with a complex investigation with many international implications. The prosecution is ongoing and will take time,” he said. “It would not be professional to communicate at this moment a detailed timetable. The world of football needs to be patient. By its nature, this investigation will take more than the legendary 90 minutes.”

Lauber, who said the “huge and complex” investigation could take months if not years in places, also emphasised that the Swiss process was independent from the US procedure and that they would not automatically share documents and information.

A disputed summary version of Garcia’s investigation, which caused the US attorney to quit his post in frustration, raised question marks over Qatar’s bid but said that there was not sufficient evidence to strip it of the tournament.

The summary, written by the German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, said that the Russian bid was unable to cooperate because it had returned its rented computers and lost all its emails.

Under intense pressure, Fifa agreed to publish the Garcia report in full with redactions but has yet to do so while ethics cases against individuals are ongoing.

Scala said last week in the wake of Blatter’s promise to step down as Fifa president that a revote on the 2018 and 2022 tournaments remained a possibility.

“If evidence should emerge that the awards to Qatar and Russia only came about thanks to bought votes then the awards could be invalidated,” said Scala, the independent chairman of Fifa’s audit and compliance committee, in an interview with the Swiss newspaper SonntagsZeitung. “This evidence has not yet been brought forth.”

Fifa’s chief ethics investigator Cornel Borbely, who took over after Garcia resigned in December, said he was prepared to widen the net if new evidence came to light.

He said in a statement: “The independent investigatory chamber of the Fifa Ethics Committee is carrying out several proceedings into football officials on suspicion of breach of the Fifa code of ethics based on the findings of the investigation into the decision for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

“Should new evidence come to light, the investigatory chamber will widen the group of suspects. The Investigatory Chamber has taken the necessary preparatory measures for this and is prepared to increase its staff numbers at any time if needed.”

Elsewhere, the Asian Football Confederation’s general secretary, Alex Soosay, has tendered his resignation with immediate effect. Soosay was suspended last month amid allegations that he ordered a cover-up during an investigation into the organization in 2012.


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 Post subject: Re: THE (bent) FIFA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 6:36 pm 
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Belgium may seek compensation over the €4.5m (£3.2m) spent on its unsuccessful 2018 World Cup bid if Fifa’s decision to award the finals to Russia is found to be fraudulent.

“If fraud is proven, it is obvious to me that we will seek compensation,” the Belgian Football Federation chairman, François de Keersmaecker, told Het Nieuwsblad. The country made a joint bid with the Netherlands that cost €9m.

The Flemish government sports minister, Philippe Muyters, told the newspaper that fraud still needs to be proven.

“But if it was the case, we will, with our partners, look to proceed with a claim,” he said.

The executive committee of world football’s ruling body, Fifa, chose Russia ahead of the Belgian-Dutch bid, a joint bid from Portugal and Spain, and one by England. Meanwhile two Argentinians charged in connection with the Fifa corruption allegations have requested house arrest after turning themselves in at a federal courthouse in Buenos Aires.

Hugo Jinkis and his son Mariano, said by US prosecutors to be part of a multimillion-dollar bribery scheme for the rights to broadcast Copa América games, intend to fight an extradition order to the United States.


I don't think they'll change the hosts but with corruption clearly a factor in the process the nations who spent money bidding should be compensated as it was clearly a waste of resources.


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 Post subject: Re: THE (bent) FIFA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2015 3:08 pm 
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Fresh hostilities between Uefa and Fifa have broken out after senior European officials accused Sepp Blatter of having lost the plot after he openly contradicted himself over promised reforms.

In the speech in which he promised to stand down amid the worst crisis in Fifa’s history Blatter, its outgoing president, said the size of the governing body’s executive committee “must be reduced” and its members directly elected by the 209 Fifa members.

But in a new Fifa Weekly column in which Blatter argues for more spots on the executive committee for non-European confederations and more representation for women, he says: “I am reluctant to take places away from anyone; there should not be a redistribution of seats on the executive committee but a commensurate expansion of this body.”

Blatter, now openly in conflict with the Uefa president, Michel Platini, after the Frenchman campaigned for his removal during the recent presidential elections, is determined to reduce the influence of the confederations before he leaves his post.

Senior Uefa sources were said to be “perplexed at Sepp Blatter’s flip-flopping and wonder whether he has completely lost his way”.

Blatter also took aim at Uefa in his column, again claiming that the European confederation had blocked his reform proposals and the prospect of integrity checks for all exco members. He called on individual confederations such as Uefa to follow Fifa’s lead and establish their own ethics committees.

He wrote: “Confederations must at the same time acknowledge their responsibility in matters of ethics. Only the Asian confederation has an ethics committee like the one introduced by Fifa. All other continental bodies are lacking in this regard.”

In his column Blatter does not address reports that he could change his mind and himself stand for re-election. Fifa issued a statement earlier in the week saying Blatter stood by his decision to resign. A date for the next election will be set at an extraordinary meeting of Fifa’s exco on 20 July.

Meanwhile Blatter’s promise of more places around the table for the African and Asian confederations is likely to play well with his supporters. He wrote: “The key is to strengthen democracy within the ‘Fifa government’. The confederations must be proportionally represented according to the number of member associations they have.

“The fact that Caf, the African confederation boasting 54 members, and the AFC, the Asian confederation with 46 members, only have five and four delegates respectively in the 25-person Fifa executive is contradictory to this notion of democracy.”

While senior Fifa executives negotiate in the run-up to next month’s meeting those outside the organisation continue to lobby for more fundamental reform. Even if he does not stay on as president, Blatter appears determined to try to clear a path for his chosen successor even as the parallel US and Swiss criminal investigations into corruption and the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups continue.


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 Post subject: Re: THE (bent) FIFA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 7:19 pm 
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Senior Japanese football officials have denied claims that they paid $1.5m to South American associations in return for support of its co-hosting of the 2002 World Cup with South Korea.

The allegations, published over the weekend by the Spanish sports daily Diario As as part of a detailed interview with a Conmebol source who had worked there for 15 years, meant that corruption allegations of some sort had been levelled at every World Cup since 1998 and up to the Qatar 2022 tournament in the three weeks since US investigators alleged a “World Cup of fraud” at the top of football.

“It’s impossible,” the JFA hononary president, Junji Ogura, told the Japanese newspaper the Asahi Shimbun of the report.

The source, who also gave a detailed breakdown of how the former Conmebol president Nicolás Leoz allegedly moved money from Conmebol accounts to private ones, told the Spanish paper that the then JFA honorary president, Ken Naganuma, sent the money in 2000. He has since died.

Japan and South Korea were chosen in 1996 as joint hosts of the 2002 event after fierce competition between the two nations. Ogura said any such payment in 2000 would have been impossible since Japan had won the event four years earlier. “Besides, we don’t have such a sum of money,” he added.

Leoz is one of nine former senior Fifa officials indicted by US prosecutors on a range of charges including money laundering, racketeering, tax evasion and wire fraud. The Paraguayan, previously named as one of those who received a share of the $100m distributed in kickbacks by the now defunct sports marketing agency ISL, retired from football in 2013 citing ill health.

Meanwhile a global group of government anti-money-laundering agencies said that financial institutions had not done enough to police suspicious financial activity by officials at Fifa and called on them to step up scrutiny.

The warning from the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force came as the US investigation continues to widen and as the Swiss Attorney General investigates money laundering and suspicious transactions related to the race for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

In a statement that has now been removed from the agency’s website but had been seen by Reuters FATF said “recent reports about alleged corruption and money laundering activities on a large scale by several high-ranking Fifa officials underscore how important it is that financial institutions identify and monitor high-risk customers.”

It said that financial institutions “do not appear to have given a sufficient amount of scrutiny to the financial activities of the officials concerned, as many of these allegedly corruption-related transfers passed through the international financial system undetected.”

FATF, whose members include the US, China, Brazil, Switzerland and many other European countries, said that an “ongoing public debate about the integrity of an entity should raise flags to financial institutions. As a result they should treat customers that are related to that entity as high risk customers.”


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 Post subject: Re: THE (bent) FIFA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2015 4:24 pm 
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Sepp Blatter says he has not resigned as Fifa president.

The 79-year-old Swiss was thought to have ended his 17-year reign on 2 June amid claims of corruption in world football's governing body.

A Fifa statement confirmed a report in Swiss newspaper Blick, which said Blatter told a party: "I did not resign, I put myself and my office in the hands of the Fifa congress."

Blatter is thought to be considering standing for re-election as president.

Two criminal investigations into alleged Fifa corruption began in the week that Blatter was elected for a fifth term in charge.

Four days after being voted president, Blatter - who is reportedly under investigation in the United States - said: "While I have a mandate from the membership of Fifa, I do not feel that I have a mandate from the entire world of football.

"Therefore, I have decided to lay down my mandate at an extraordinary elective congress. I will continue to exercise my functions as Fifa president until that election."

However, Blatter did not use the words 'resign' or 'resignation'. He did add, however, the election would be for his "successor" and said: "I shall not be a candidate."

The Fifa statement added the quotes in Blick were "fully in line with the speech of the president on 2 June".

Labour MP Chris Bryant, the shadow secretary of state for culture, said: "Sepp Blatter's antics remind me not so much of the hokey-cokey as Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction.

"It's time Fifa put an end to all this speculation, which is harming the sport, and give a final date for Blatter's departure."

Meanwhile, Blatter may not attend the final of the Women's World Cup in Canada because of the twin investigations into Fifa by American and Swiss authorities.

He would normally present the trophy to the winning team, but Fifa will not confirm whether Blatter or secretary general Jerome Valcke will attend.

A Fifa spokesperson said: "In terms of the Fifa president and the Fifa secretary general, their future travel plans will be confirmed in due course."


Why has it taken them almost a month to clarify this?

If FIFA vote him back in then it just destroys any credibility they have left and I think it will be the excuse UEFA need to pull out and potentially that means the end of the world cup as we know it.


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 Post subject: Re: THE (bent) FIFA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 11:06 pm 
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A Fifa official who assessed the bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups has been banned from all football-related activity for seven years.

Football's world governing body said Harold Mayne-Nicholls, 54, has been suspended by its ethics committee.

It said more information would be given when the "decision becomes effective".

Mayne-Nicholls plans to appeal against the sanction - and has questioned why it was announced before he had been through the appeals process.

Former Chilean Football Association president Mayne-Nicholls was one of five senior officials Fifa said last year were being investigated.

He had admitted speaking to officials from Qatar's bid about possible work placements for three relatives at the country's Aspire youth academy.

The ethics committee felt those conversations provided "cause enough to doubt the integrity of the inspection process and your evaluations", according to leaked emails between a committee member and Mayne-Nicholls.

Mayne-Nicholls chaired Fifa's bid evaluation group for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, which were awarded to Russia and Qatar respectively.

In his 2010 report to Fifa, Mayne-Nicholls - who had been considering standing in this year's Fifa presidential election - expressed serious concerns about conditions in Qatar, where summer temperatures can reach 50C.

Mayne-Nicholls was one of several senior Fifa officials to call for an independent report into the award process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to be published in full.

In December, Fifa decided to publish a "legally appropriate" version of the report, written by American lawyer Michael Garcia, who later resigned, citing a lack of leadership.

Swiss authorities have already begun a criminal investigation into how the 2018 and 2022 World Cups were allocated.

Meanwhile, nine senior Fifa officials are facing separate investigations of corruption, with US prosecutors alleging they accepted bribes and kickbacks estimated at more than $150m (£100m) over a 24-year period.


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 Post subject: Re: THE (bent) FIFA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 11:05 pm 
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Fifa has banned former executive committee member and ex-Concacaf general secretary Chuck Blazer from all football-related activity for life.

Blazer, 70, worked undercover with prosecutors in the United States after pleading guilty to charges of bribery, money laundering and tax evasion.

In May, several Fifa officials were arrested on charges of racketeering, fraud and money laundering.

A Fifa statement said Blazer "committed many and various acts of misconduct".

Overall, 14 people were indicted, with the US justice department alleging bribes and kickbacks estimated at more than $150m (£97m) over a 24-year period.

Blazer was the second highest official in Fifa's North and Central American and Caribbean region (Concacaf) from 1990 to 2011 and also served on Fifa's executive committee between 1997 and 2013.

In a transcript from a 2013 US hearing, the American pleaded guilty to 10 charges.

Blazer admitted he and others on the executive committee of football's world governing body agreed to accept bribes in connection with the choice of South Africa as 2010 World Cup hosts.

He said he also facilitated bribes over the 1998 event.

A document of his agreement with US prosecutors shows Blazer was secretly co-operating with them from December 2011.

The New York Daily News reported in 2014 that Blazer had bugged meetings with Fifa executives at the London 2012 Olympics with a wire device concealed in a key fob.

Fifa had suspended its investigation into Blazer because of his "ill health" but reopened it in December 2014, leading to his lifelong ban.

In its statement Fifa added: "The decision was taken on the basis of investigations carried out by the investigatory chamber of the ethics committee in response to the final report of the Concacaf integrity committee and the latest facts presented by the US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York."


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 Post subject: Re: THE (bent) FIFA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2015 6:43 pm 
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The Fifa president Sepp Blatter walked out of a press conference after being showered with fake dollar bills by the British comedian Lee Nelson.

Nelson, whose real name is Simon Brodkin, illegally gained entry to the Fifa headquarters in Zurich and poured dozens of fake banknotes over the stage around where Blatter was seated after announcing himself as a North Korean World Cup delegate.

“This is nothing to do with football … we need to clean here first,” Blatter said before leaving the stage while the money was cleared and Nelson was ejected from the building.

Blatter was speaking at the Fifa executive committee meeting, which had been called to set the date for the extraordinary elective congress, which has now been confirmed as 26 February next year.

Last year, Nelson attempted to board the England World Cup plane and mingled with the players. Earlier this summer, the comedian interrupted Kanye West’s hotly anticipated headline slot at Glastonbury festival.

“I am still alive, the waves of the tsunami have not taken me away,” Blatter said on returning to the stage.


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 Post subject: Re: THE (bent) FIFA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2015 8:18 pm 
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Jérôme Valcke has announced his intention to step down as Fifa secretary general in February when Sepp Blatter’s presidency comes to an end.

Speaking in St Petersburg, where the qualifying draw for the 2018 World Cup is taking place, the 54-year-old said his successor should be happy because plans for the tournament in Russia are progressing smoothly. “Russia is on track and I have no concern,” said Valcke, who at the same stage of the Brazil World Cup told its organisers they needed a “kick up the ass” to ensure work was completed on time. “The next secretary general should be happy as we have a well-organised World Cup.”

Valcke said he was leaving the post after eight years because the new president should be free to make his own appointment, not because Blatter’s successor might view him as tarnished by the old regime. “Whoever becomes the new Fifa president should have a new secretary general – it is the most important relationship for any organisation,” he said. “As the head of the administration I can be proud of what Fifa has done. The administration, I don’t think, has ever been part of any of the stories which are around Fifa, including all the commercial agreements we have signed from 2007 to 2015.

“I have not seen anything relating to wrongdoing by the Fifa administration regarding any commercial aspect during this period, so if you are asking me if I am responsible for what happened I don’t think I am really involved. I don’t think I am of anything to do with this case. The task of the secretary general is to implement the decisions which are coming from the Fifa congress or the Fifa executive committee.”

Nonetheless Valcke was willing to admit that Fifa’s well-documented difficulties over the past few months have had the effect of making the World Cup a harder sell to sponsors. No new sponsors have joined up since last year’s World Cup in Brazil, and a projected target of $6bn for the 2018 tournament is beginning to look ambitious. “The current situation does not help to finalise any new agreements, that is a fact,” Valcke said. “We have been in negotiations with some major companies but I don’t believe any announcements will be made until the election in February.”

Severallong-standing Fifa sponsors have recently been critical of Fifa’s response to the allegations of bribery and corruption being investigated by the US Department of Justice, with Visa openly sceptical about the existing leadership.

Valcke intends to convene a meeting to brief sponsors next month but does not believe the commercial package for the 2018 World Cup is dangerously behind schedule. “We might have to wait until February but that’s not too late as long as we do some deals in the early part of 2016.”


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 Post subject: Re: THE (bent) FIFA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2015 8:19 pm 
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Michel Platini is set to declare he will run for the Fifa presidency this week and an announcement could come as early as Wednesday.

Platini, the Uefa president, held talks with football powerbrokers at the 2018 World Cup draw in St Petersburg at the weekend and is now confident he has the support necessary to win.

It is understood a letter to national associations declaring his intentions has already been prepared ready to send out when he announces his candidacy.

The election to succeed Sepp Blatter will take place on 26 February in Zurich.

The 60-year-old Platini is the favourite to succeed the Swiss after gaining the backing of four of the six Fifa confederations, including the powerful Asia bloc.

Platini has publicly stated he voted for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup, and although the award of that tournament to the Gulf state has caused huge controversy, in Fifa terms his backing for Qatar is likely to be an advantage.

A credible opponent to Platini has yet to emerge - the former Argentina player Diego Maradona and former Brazil player Zico have both stated they want to stand, but neither would command significant support.

Other names in the frame include Chung Mong-joon, a former Fifa vice-president from South Korea, and Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan, who was beaten by Blatter in the election in May.

Both of those however would suffer from the leaders of the Asian Football Confederation having already pledged to give their support to Platini.

If Platini is successful, the question of who would take over the Uefa presidency would then arise. England’s David Gill, who sits on Fifa and Uefa’s executive committees, is unlikely to want the position which leaves Germany’s Wolfgang Niersbach as the favourite.


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 Post subject: Re: THE (bent) FIFA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2015 8:50 pm 
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Chung Mong-joon, one of the most influential figures in Asian football, has ridiculed Sepp Blatter after announcing that he will enter the race to replace the Swiss as president of Fifa.

A former Fifa vice-president, the South Korean Chung described Blatter as “like a cannibal eating his parents and then crying like he’s an orphan” for trying to avoid responsibility for the crisis that has engulfed Fifa over the last few months. “He tries to blame everybody except himself,” Chung added.

Chung will make his formal announcement regarding his bid to be the Fifa President next month in Europe, “the centre of world football”. He said he wanted to be part of the solution to clean up the corruption-tainted governing body.

“I am going to stand as a candidate for the Fifa presidency,” he said, acknowledging he had a tough fight ahead of him. “It’s not easy but people don’t want to be part of corruption. They want to be part of the solution. We cannot leave Fifa in this kind of disgrace.”

Chung said he did not yet have the required backing of five Fifa federations that would allow him to stand but he was confident of getting that required support.

“I hope to have more than five nominations,” he said, adding he had received assurances of support from within Concacaf on a recent trip to the United States.

“If I get elected,” he told the BBC, “my job is not to enjoy the luxury of the office. My job is to change it … it is time that Fifa had a non-European leadership. Fifa became a closed organisation for President Blatter, his associates and his cronies and I want to change that.”

On Wednesday, Michel Platini announced he will also run to replace Blatter as the Fifa president in next February’s election but Chung believes that Platini is not the man to bring about the change needed. “Mr Platini enjoys institutional support from the current structure of Fifa. Mr Platini is very much a product of the current system.”

The FA has said that it will offer its backing to the Frenchman but added that Fifa must be “fundamentally changed” in the aftermath of the recent corruption scandal that has rocked football’s world governing body.

Meanwhile, Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, the president of the Asian Football Confederation, has called for the region to unify behind one candidate in the presidential election and stopped short of endorsing Platini for the job.

“We have of course noted Michel Platini’s decision to stand,” Khalifa said in a statement released before Chung announced his candidacy. “He is certainly a unique candidate who would bring stability and a smooth transition to normality for Fifa in this difficult situation.”

“Yet we should also remember that the Fifa president is only one part of Fifa, which is why it is so important to get the reforms right as well. Everybody accepts the need for change in Fifa, and in addition to changing the president much of the rest of Fifa’s organisation and the way it functions need to be modernised as well. Fifa also needs someone who can take the best of the past, fuse it with new ideas, and so take the organisation into the future.”

The Jordanian Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, who lost to Blatter in the first round of last May’s presidential ballot before withdrawing, said on Wednesday that Platini’s candidature would not be good for Fifa.

Prince Ali, who is yet to announce whether he intends to run again, said the world governing body needed new, independent leadership “untainted by the practices of the past” in order for proper reform to take place.

The AFC statement echoed his call for a “new Fifa and a new Fifa president”, even if the fact that Prince Ali did not have the backing of his home confederation when he took on Blatter last year indicates that Asia is unlikely to vote as a bloc.

“Fifa is in a very difficult position right now. In order to stabilise it needs leadership, experience and new ideas, but above all it needs football to be placed at its heart,” Khalifa added. “Hopefully a new president can bring many of these things, which is why it is so important for Asia to remain as united as possible behind the single best candidate for football, regardless of where they are from.”


I'm disappointed the FA have backed Platini without waiting to hear from all the candidates and what they stand for. We shouldn't be backing Platini just because he's from Europe we should listen to everyone and back the guy who's interests/beliefs best reflect ours.


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 Post subject: Re: THE (bent) FIFA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 8:12 pm 
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Sepp Blatter has told the BBC he is “clean” and Fifa is not corrupt. The 78-year-old president, who will step down in February after criminal investigations were launched into world football’s governing body, said he decided to go in order to protect Fifa.

He added: “I can protect myself. I am strong enough. I know what I have done, what I have not done. I have my conscience and I know I’m an honest man. I am clean.

“The institution is not corrupt. There is no corruption in football. There is corruption with individuals.”


Even if he somehow is clean and didn't take a bung he's certainly guilty of turning a blind eye to it these allegations are almost a decade old and up until the FBI got involved he flat out denied it

There's no way he didn't know what was going on and I'd be amazed if he didn't get anything in return it might be that all he got was votes but he still ignored blatant corruption.


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 Post subject: Re: THE (bent) FIFA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2015 4:20 pm 
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FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke tried to secure a pay-off of several million pounds from FIFA just a week before he was suspended, the Press Association understands.

Valcke was suspended by football's world governing body on Thursday pending an investigation into allegations he was implicated in a World Cup tickets scheme. He has denied any wrongdoing.

The Frenchman had announced in July he would leave the organisation along with outgoing president Sepp Blatter in February, although sources close to FIFA have told the PA that Valcke has been keen for some time to make an early exit.

Valcke's contract had three years to run and it is understood he wanted to be paid out in full for the remainder of the deal but was unsuccessful in negotiating a pay-off. In 2007, his predecessor Urs Linsi was given a pay-off worth £3.6m.

Valcke was suspended after emails and documents were released which suggested he was aware that a Swiss marketing company were selling off World Cup and Confederation Cup tickets for almost five times the face value.

The emails and documents show Valcke signed off contracts with Swiss firm JB Sports Marketing AG for category one tickets for a number of matches. The company also claims it entered into a profit-sharing agreement with Valcke - though no money changed hands - and he strenuously denies asking for or receiving any money from JB Sports.

FIFA's statement on Thursday said: "FIFA has been made aware of a series of allegations involving the secretary general and has requested a formal investigation by the FIFA ethics committee."

Deputy general secretary Markus Kattner, who also signed the original contract with JB Sports, has taken over from Valcke on a temporary basis.

According to Sky sources, Blatter believes privately that Valcke has done nothing wrong but felt he had to act in the current climate.

He has also emailed FIFA staff saying the organisation can recover from this "difficult situation".

Blatter, who has pulled out of a trip to Moscow to mark 1,000 days to the start of the 2018 World Cup, said: "FIFA is confident of its ability to recover from the present difficult situation and restore its reputation for the good of the game."

UEFA expressed its dismay at the latest scandal to hit FIFA.

"We've seen, read and heard about these allegations. They are very serious allegations," said UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino.

"They are allegations which are sad, we feel very sad about this news coming out on a daily basis.

"We are disappointed with this news but a process has started and a new president will be elected which will lead to reforms which are certainly needed.

"Something needs to be done and will be done to restore FIFA's image"


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 Post subject: Re: THE (bent) FIFA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2015 4:20 pm 
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Jérôme Valcke, Sepp Blatter’s charming right-hand man and long-time fixer, has often been described as “Teflon” by those close to the warped world of football’s global governing body.

Even when he was forced to quit in 2006 after being criticised by a New York judge for lying during contract negotiations with Mastercard he was back in the fold within months. Yet in a terse two-paragraph statement on Thursday night, the man who is an avowed fan of Ferraris appeared to run out of road.

Still shaken by the aftershocks of that May morning when seven Fifa officials were dramatically arrested in the heart of their Zurich domain – the lobby of the five-star Baur au Lac hotel – a series of serious allegations against Valcke could not be simply shrugged off in the newly paranoid atmosphere that stalks the halls of Fifa House.

Valcke was believed to be on his way to Moscow, one of the few countries he and Blatter are still prepared to visit given the travel restrictions they have placed on themselves in the wake of the dramatic intervention by the US attorney general Loretta Lynch, as a one-time associate Benny Alon laid out a series of allegations.

The Frenchman, left to spin plates and deal with the fallout from the executive committee above his head for more than a decade, stood accused of claims that he was implicated in a deal.

No money actually changed hands as the underlying agreement with Fifa for tickets to resell for Brazil 2014 did not work out. Valcke denies the claims by Alon, a consultant to the ticketing company JB Sports Marketing, which had the underlying contract with Fifa to resell World Cup tickets.

But on top of question marks after evidence emerged in May showing he was aware of a $10m payment from South African officials to the disgraced former Fifa official Jack Warner described by US investigators as a bribe, the decision was swiftly taken to place Valke on indefinite leave.

Given he has promised to follow Blatter out of his opulent HQ during February in any case, insiders on Thursday night said it was hard to see how he would ever return to work after being “released from his duties until further notice” by Fifa from a well-remunerated role that he once described as “a dream”.

“Our world is a very small world,” said Valcke in 2007, having staged a remarkable return to Fifa as general secretary after the Mastercard affair.

It is a world that – thanks to US prosecutors following in the wake of dogged investigative reporters – in the last six months has finally been held up to microscopic scrutiny and smashed to smithereens by a determined criminal investigation.

“We worked closely together for three years. Whatever Blatter asked me, and what I committed to deliver when I joined Fifa, I did. So we have a strong relationship, Blatter and myself,” the Frenchman said in 2007.

If that was true then, their bond has only strengthened in the intervening years. It was Valcke who delivered logistically challenging World Cups in South Africa and Brazil through a combination of charm and threats (he sparked a diplomatic meltdown in Brazil by saying that they needed a “kick up the backside”).

It was Valcke who said in 2013, “I will say something that is a little bit crazy but sometimes less democracy is better for organising a World Cup.” And it was Valcke who was revealed in 2011, at the height of a scandal-hit presidential election that ended with Blatter re-elected unopposed, to have sent a private email saying that Qatar had “bought” the 2022 World Cup. He claimed that he meant the tiny Gulf state had spent a fortune on its bid and therefore was likely to win. He did not, he insisted, mean that it had paid bribes.

In the fallout from the chaotic, controversial race to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups it was Valcke who again had to pick up the pieces, negotiating with broadcasters, sponsors and the press – trying constantly to square circles. In doing so he employed all the Machiavellian tactics that had served him so well in the Wild West world of sports marketing down the years.

Before the announcement that the World Cup in 2022 would, after all, be shifted to winter rather than played in temperatures of 50C in June he quietly did a deal with Fox to hand it the rights to the 2022 and 2026 tournaments without an auction. The Rupert Murdoch-owned TV network had been among the most voluble critics of a shift to winter. Valcke insisted he had not done anything wrong.

He once held ambitions to ascend to the presidency himself but amid the dying embers of Blatter’s regime and the ongoing twin-track inquiries by the US Department of Justice and the Swiss attorney general, he had already announced he would also leave in February along with the president – with whose fate he has become entwined.

Speaking before the World Cup qualifying-phase draw in St Petersburg last summer he sought to draw a line between the scandal-plagued executive committee and the administrative corps who kept Fifa running on a daily basis.

“As the head of the administration I can be proud of what Fifa has done. The administration, I don’t think, has ever been part of any of the stories which are around Fifa, including all the commercial agreements we have signed from 2007 to 2015,” he said. “I have not seen anything relating to wrongdoing by the Fifa administration regarding any commercial aspect during this period so, if you are asking me if I am responsible for what happened, I don’t think I am really involved.”

The urbane 54-year-old with a background in sports broadcasting and TV-rights deals quickly became indispensable to Blatter when he joined in 2003 as head of marketing and TV. Barring that brief interregnum in 2006, when he was let go after Blatter said Fifa “could not possibly accept” such behaviour from employees before being reinstalled as general secretary less than 12 months later, he has been a Fifa fixture. He has also seen off myriad enemies in the organisation’s internecine political battles.

Just as it was once impossible to imagine Fifa without Blatter at its head, whatever corruption and bribery claims washed over the organisation, so it was hard to imagine it without Valcke smoothing the path, pouring honey and dripping poison in his wake.

All of a sudden, everything has changed.


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 Post subject: Re: THE (bent) FIFA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2015 9:27 pm 
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Michel Platini has acknowledged that he “might have told” American officials he would vote for the United States’ 2022 World Cup bid, before he voted for Qatar instead.

The Uefa president, among the candidates to replace Sepp Blatter at Fifa in February, has repeatedly come under pressure over his decision to back the controversial Qatar campaign during the bidding process in 2010.

Platini admitted he changed his mind about voting for the US after attending a November 2010 meeting hosted by the then-French president Nicolas Sarkozy at his official residence in Paris, which was also attended by senior Qatari officials.

However Platini repeated earlier denials of any impropriety surrounding that meeting and his decision, saying: “Sarkozy never asked me to vote for Qatar, but I knew what would be good.”

Despite the scrutiny of that decision, Platini insisted that under his leadership Fifa would make a clean break from past controversies, “restore its image” and become less about political deal-making.

“We have to care about the game, not politics,” he said. “With me, there won’t be politics. With me, it’s about football, not politics … there are a lot of good people in the executive committee. It’s only some that are corrupt. If you do something wrong, you will be taken care of.”

Platini also discussed the decision of certain Fifa executive members, including the Brazil FA president Marco Polo Del Nero, to stay away from this week’s executive committee meeting in Zurich.

Del Nero left Switzerland suddenly in May after other officials were arrested in dramatic dawn raids on Fifa’s hotel, and has not travelled outside Brazil since. Del Nero has denied wrongdoing.

“It’s not the first time a member doesn’t come,” Platini said. “Of course we are in a strange situation at the moment, otherwise there wouldn’t be so many journalists here.”


So surely the follow up question has to be why did you vote for Qatar?


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 Post subject: Re: THE (bent) FIFA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2015 6:09 pm 
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The Swiss attorney general has opened criminal proceedings against Sepp Blatter in the heart of the Zurich HQ he has dominated as Fifa president for 17 years, as the continuing corruption crisis gripping world football took another dramatic turn.

The office of the attorney general said in a statement that it had interrogated Blatter following a meeting on Friday of the Fifa executive committee.

At the same time Michel Platini, the Uefa president who is hoping to replace him next year, was heard “as a person asked to provide information”.

Fifa HQ was also searched and data seized from Blatter’s office, causing a scheduled press conference to be cancelled amid fevered speculation.

The office of the Swiss attorney general, Michael Lauber, said: “On the one hand, the OAG suspects that on 12 September 2005 Mr. Joseph Blatter has signed a contract with the Caribbean Football Union [with Jack Warner as the President at this time]; this contract was unfavourable for Fifa. On the other hand, there is as suspicion that, in the implementation of this agreement, Joseph Blatter also violated his fiduciary duties and acted against the interest of Fifa and/or Fifa Marketing & TV AG.”

That is believed to relate to the television contract unearthed by Swiss broadcasters that showed Blatter had agreed to sell TV rights to the disgraced former Fifa heavyweight Jack Warner at below the market rate.

“Additionally, Mr. Joseph Blatter is suspected of a disloyal payment of 2m Swiss francs to Michel Platini, president of Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), at the expense of Fifa, which was allegedly made for work performed between January 1999 and June 2002 ; this payment was executed in February 2011.”

As the net has closed around Blatter, who has refused to travel to any countries with an extradition treaty with the US since the scandal broke, he has cut an increasingly remote figure.

“As for all defendants, the presumption of innocence applies for Mr Joseph Blatter,” said the Swiss attorney general. Blatter has always denied any wrongdoing.

Lauber confirmed last week that his office was looking into the TV contract signed by Blatter and Warner as part of its wider investigation, which began as a probe into the award of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

In May, seven Fifa executives were arrested in the lobby of the Baur au Lac hotel as American prosecutors outlined charges of money laundering, racketeering and fraud against 14 individuals including nine high ranking football officials.

Of the 14 Fifa officials indicted in May, 13 have been arrested, of whom three have been charged in US courtrooms and 10 await extradition.

On Thursday, Fifa handed over emails from Blatter’s longstanding right-hand man, Jérôme Valcke, having blocked access even as the outgoing president pledged support for American and Swiss investigations of corruption.

Valcke was suspended last week in the wake of allegations that he had profited from World Cup tickets sold above face value. He denies the allegations.

Fifa said in a statement on Friday that it had been cooperating with the OAG since 27 May 2015 and “has complied with all requests for documents, data and other information. We will continue this level of cooperation throughout the investigation.

“Today, at the home of Fifa, representatives from the Office of the Swiss attorney general conducted interviews and gathered documents pursuant to its investigation. Fifa facilitated these interviews as part of our ongoing cooperation.”

The Fifa inquiries

There are two separate inquiries currently underway:

US department of justice: American prosecutors shocked world football in May on the eve of Fifa’s Congress when Swiss police arrested seven Fifa officials in dawn raids. Later that day, attorney general Loretta Lynch outlined allegations of a $100m corruption case that included charges of racketeering, money laundering and fraud against 14 individuals, including nine current or former Fifa executives. Of the 14 Fifa officials indicted in May, 13 have been arrested of whom three have been charged in US courtrooms and 10 await extradition.


Swiss attorney general: Michael Lauber, the Swiss attorney general, seized documents and data from Fifa HQ on the same day as the Baur au Lac arrests were made, initially as part of an investigation into the award of the Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022 World Cups. But at a press conference last week, Lauber confirmed that a 2005 TV contract bearing Sepp Blatter’s signature, which appeared to sell rights to disgraced Fifa official Jack Warner at below market value, had also become part of the probe. Lauber confirmed that among financial assets seized since 27 May were properties including apartments in the Swiss Alps and that 121 suspicious banking transactions are under investigation. It has seized 11 terabytes of data, equivalent to around 900m pages of information


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 Post subject: Re: THE (bent) FIFA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2015 8:38 pm 
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Criminal investigators in Switzerland have taken another walk up to Fifa HQ, that once impregnable bunker high on a Zurich hill, and finally knocked on the door of the president, Sepp Blatter. Five months before the departure he has scheduled after a generational 41 years working at football’s world governing body, Blatter is now the target of criminal proceedings and it will particularly wound him that his own country, where he has always been so cosy, has turned forensic on him.

But Michel Platini – the man who would be king, having declared his candidacy and become the clear favourite to replace Blatter in February’s presidential election – has serious questions to answer about these proceedings, which he has clearly failed to recognise.

The office of the Swiss attorney general, Michael Lauber, which is releasing just enough basic detail about its Fifa investigations to be explosive, announced to the world that one of its two criminal proceedings centred on Blatter concerns a 2m Swiss francs (approximately £1.35m at today’s rates) payment he made to Platini in February 2011. The other involves a television contract signed in 2005 with Jack Warner, the disgraced Caribbean football baron who once threatened Blatter with a “tsunami” of revelations. The Trinidadian did not quite plan, though, for it to happen while he is under indictment by US federal authorities for huge alleged bribery and corruption, which he denies.

Lauber’s office said in its statement that the payment by Blatter was “allegedly” for work Platini had done at Fifa between January 1999 and June 2002 – almost nine years before the money dropped into Platini’s bank account. The football world immediately saw alarm in the timing: spring 2011 was when Platini decided not to run against Blatter for Fifa president and instead endorsed Blatter.

Platini had understood Blatter would step down that year after concluding his third term as president, but, when Blatter went back on that, Platini had the option of running against him. Instead, the Frenchman backed him, and in May 2011 Uefa’s executive committee urged its 53 national associations to vote for Blatter. Now we know that shortly before that Blatter paid him 2m Swiss francs.

The attorney general’s statement made it clear that while Blatter is under suspicion for that “disloyal payment”, a criminal offence, Platini was interviewed on Friday – understood to have been for four hours at Fifa HQ – not as a suspect but as “a person asked to provide information”.

Platini put out a statement stressing that he is not a suspect and he sought to make light of this encounter with criminal investigators, portraying the money – nine years late – as entirely normal. “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.”

Greg Dyke, the FA chairman, who backed Platini for Fifa president in July, almost immediately the Uefa president announced his candidacy, offered some characteristically premature and ill-thought out reaction, telling ITV News: “I know no more than you do,” before focusing all his comments on Blatter.

However, Dyke might have been better taking a step back and considering the questions this raises for Platini. They come at a time when Fifa is near collapse with corruption allegations, indictments and arrests and with Platini, president of European football’s governing body, presenting himself as the ideal candidate to clean the whole sorry mess up. These are the highest stakes possible for the integrity of the game and if Platini is to ascend to head Fifa – or even remain as president of Uefa – he has to give grown-up answers to the obvious doubts raised.

For a start, why on earth was Platini being paid in February 2011 for work he did at Fifa, as Blatter’s special advisor, which finished nine years earlier? If it was indeed a payment for that work, does that mean Platini worked for three years at Fifa – before he had another well-remunerated source of salary as Uefa president – without being paid? Why did Fifa not pay him, if that was the case? What did he do for money in that time and what efforts did he make to get Blatter to pay him for the time he had spent advising him – with his contract presumably not being honoured?

Then, why did February 2011 suddenly become the moment chosen for Platini to be paid? How did this happen? Did Platini finally decide it was about time he nagged for the money or did Blatter suddenly discover the yellowing invoices on Platini-headed paper, buried for nearly a decade at the bottom of his in-tray?

Platini also needs to address the question of timing. Why did he endorse Blatter rather than run against him and did it, definitely, have nothing to do with the payment? There is also the question of why Platini is only “a person asked to provide information” while Blatter is a criminal suspect over the same payment. It is difficult to understand why, if the money was owed to Platini on a contract he had with Fifa, however belatedly it was being paid, the settlement of that legitimate debt should be “a disloyal payment”.

Platini, a former great as a player, has in his eight years as Uefa president developed the winning art of dismissing serious questions with a shrug of charm, humour and professed naivety. He has suffered remarkably little pressure over his vote for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup, which followed lunch at the Élysée Palace with the then French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, and the prime minister and son of the emir of Qatar.

Platini has said he knew Sarkozy supported Qatar and wanted the Qataris to buy and fund Paris Saint-Germain, which they later did, but says his president did not ask him to vote for Qatar and the lunch did not influence him. Platini’s son, Laurent, was then hired as chief executive by the Qatari sportswear firm, Burrda, a recruitment Platini has said was unconnected to his vote and made because Laurent is a capable professional.

For Blatter, the knock on the door must be a nightmare he never dreamed would come to pass in all his years at the top. His would-be successor cannot pretend there are no questions here for him, because that would take world football, and all those who love it, for fools.

Platini needs to respond to this with clarity, or to apply the word being honestly promised for the new reformed Fifa: transparency.


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