Blatter Ready To Testify In France Over 2022 World Cup

Former FIFA then President Joseph Blatter (L) speaking at the start of the FIFA Ballon d’Or awards ceremony at the Kongresshaus in Zurich on January 7, 2013. AFP

 

Sepp Blatter, the former president of FIFA, told AFP on Wednesday that he had opposed awarding the 2020 World Cup to Qatar, but that he has a “clear conscience.”

Blatter said he is willing to testify to French prosecutors about the 2010 vote in favour of Qatar.

“If they ask me formally then I think I will go to France because I have a clear conscience,” said the 83-year-old who already testified in Switzerland in April, 2017, at the request of the French authorities.

Qatar beat Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States to win the vote. However, the result has been consistently questioned.

A three-year-old French investigation, was recently entrusted to a Paris investigative magistrate charged with looking specifically for “active and passive corruption”.

Six months ago, Michael Platini, who was vice-president of FIFA and UEFA president at the time, was questioned about his decision to vote in favour of Qatar.

The investigators are particularly interested in a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris on November 23, 2010, just over a week before the vote, between French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Qatari prince Tamim ben Hamad al-Thani –- who became Emir in 2013 –- and Platini who subsequently voted for Qatar.

“When Platini said that he would have voted for Qatar anyway, especially for the development of football, it is not true,” said Blatter.

“We had a consensus within the Executive Committee of FIFA, which planned to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 World Cup to the United States.

“Everything went well until eight days before the election when there was this famous dinner at the Elysee.

“Platini phoned me immediately after. He told me: ‘Sepp, it’s not going to work, we will have a problem for the election.’ President Sarkozy had asked him, suggested, to vote for Qatar,” said Blatter, who reported this telephone conversation to the Swiss judge in April 2017.

“I said to Platini ‘Did he force you?’ He said ‘Not at all, but when a head of state asks you to do something, you do it so I will follow and I will take my friends with me’.”

“His friends were the Cypriot Marios Lefkaritis, the Belgian Michel D’Hooghe who would have voted for Qatar anyway, his son having already had a post in Qatar, and the Spaniard Angel Maria Villar. So it made four voices that tipped the vote.”

Blatter, who was ousted from office in 2015, is serving a six-year ban from  FIFA activities because of a separate payment of 2 million Swiss francs (1.84 million euros) to Platini.

AFP

Blatter Arrives In Russia For World Cup Despite FIFA Ban

Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter arrives to the hotel St Regis in Moscow, on June 19, 2018, during the Russia 2018 World Cup football tournament. Photo: Vasily MAXIMOV / AFP

 

Disgraced former FIFA boss Sepp Blatter defied a ban to attend World Cup matches and arrived in Russia on Tuesday at the invitation of President Vladimir Putin.

“I’m not here to comment on the game. I’m here to enjoy the World Cup,” Blatter told reporters before stepping inside a luxurious Moscow hotel.

The 82-year-old is being investigated by Swiss prosecutors for alleged corruption during his 17-year reign as head of world football’s governing body.

The Swiss national was suspended for six years by FIFA in 2016 from football-related activities over a 1.8-million-euro ($2 million) payment to former UEFA chief Michel Platini.

Former FIFA spokesman Thomas Renggli told AFP that Blatter would meet Putin on Wednesday.

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday he did not know whether any meeting had been planned.

Last October Blatter announced he had received an invitation from Putin to attend the June 14 to July 15 showpiece which Russia is hosting..

The two men developed a close relationship after FIFA’s disputed decision in 2010 to award this year’s tournament to Russia instead of England.

FIFA said it had no comment to make on Blatter’s trip.

Blatter is slated to watch Wednesday’s game between Portugal and Morocco in the Russian capital and might also attend Brazil’s match against Costa Rica in Putin’s native Saint Petersburg.

Putin is not scheduled to be at either match.

AFP

Blatter Wants An End Into Corruption Probe

Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter gestures during a press conference in Zurich on March 8, 2018.
Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

 

Sepp Blatter said on Thursday that he is growing impatient.

The former FIFA president has been under investigation since 2015 over an “illegal payment” to Michel Platini, and would like the whole thing to be wrapped up.

Blatter, talking to journalists in Zurich on Thursday, said “nothing” had happened since September 2015, the date of the opening of proceedings against him for “corrupt management” stemming from the two million Swiss Franc (1.8mn euro, $2mn) payment to Platini, the former head of European governing body UEFA, adding “it’s a bit long”.

The lawyers of both men were summoned two weeks ago by the Swiss courts in Bern.

“Platini has appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, two weeks ago the Swiss court heard the Platini clan in Bern, my lawyer was also present and he again showed that the payment to Platini was done correctly,” Blatter explained.

Blatter, who is 82, was president of FIFA from 1998 until June 2015 when he quit days after winning relection for a fifth term as a wave of scandals broke.

He was later banned from football by FIFA for eight years, a sentence then reduced to six years over a payment to Platini, his former friend and ally.

Unlike Blatter, Platini has fought his own, four-year, ban in the civil courts. After being rebuffed by a Swiss tribunal, the Frenchman turned to Strasbourg.

“I wish we could finish,” Blatter said. “What I want to do is work alongside Swiss justice but also find the arguments necessary to obtain a reversal of the decision of the (FIFA) ethics commission.”

AFP

Blatter Denies Grabbing Hope Solo’s Backside

This combination of pictures created on November 11, 2017 by AFP shows former FIFA then President Joseph Blatter (L) speaking at the start of the FIFA Ballon d’Or awards ceremony at the Kongresshaus in Zurich on January 7, 2013 and USA women’s national football team goalkeeper Hope Solo attending BODY at ESPYs at Milk Studios on July 14, 2015 in Hollywood, California. PHOTO; FABRICE COFFRINI, JASON MERRITT/AFP

The former head of world football Sepp Blatter said on Saturday that claims by United State women’s goalkeeper Hope Solo that he had grabbed her backside were “absurd”.

Solo told Portuguese newspaper Expresso that then-FIFA president Blatter had sexually harassed her at the 2013 Ballon d’Or ceremony.

The 36-year-old Solo, her country’s standout goalkeeper, claimed Blatter pounced as she was about to present an award to her teammate Abby Wambach.

“Sepp Blatter grabbed my ass, it was a few years ago at the Ballon d’Or ceremony just before I got on stage,” Solo said.

However, Blatter, 81, told AFP the accusations were “absurd and ridiculous”.

Solo, a World Cup winner, and two-time Olympic champion made the allegations on the sidelines of the Web Summit being held in Lisbon.

She said that sexual harassment at the hands of male officials was a common problem in women’s football.

“I have seen this all of my career and I would like to see more athletes speak about their experiences,” said Solo.

“It’s out of control, not just in Hollywood but everywhere,” she added in reference to the firestorm of sexual harassment allegations in entertainment, politics and sport since the scandal involving Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein unfolded.

Solo made reference to the fact that female players sometimes married their US college coaches “which obviously a coach should not be doing, especially with a young player.”

Blatter was president of FIFA from 1998 to 2015 until he was banned for corruption.

The Swiss official ran FIFA with an iron hand and oversaw a period in which football’s premier tournament was hosted in Asia for the first time and he paved the way for it to be held in Qatar in 2022.

After the corruption allegations emerged, FIFA banned Blatter from the sport for eight years, a term later reduced to six years after appeal.

Blatter told AFP last month that he would attend next year’s World Cup finals in Russia at the invitation of President Vladimir Putin.

AFP

I Am Going To World Cup At Putin’s Invitation, Says Blatter

FIFA’s disgraced ex-president Sepp Blatter has told AFP he will go to next year’s World Cup in Russia at the invitation of President Vladimir Putin, despite being banned from football.

“I will go to the World Cup in Russia. I received an invitation from President Putin,” the 81-year-old said in an interview.

Blatter said Michel Platini, the ex-UEFA president who is banned from football over corruption, had also been invited to the tournament by Putin.

But according to one of his close allies Platini “hasn’t received an invitation from Putin to go to the World Cup and doesn’t know what he will be doing next summer”.

Blatter, who led world football’s governing body for 17 years, was thrown out of the sport in 2015 at the height of a massive corruption scandal.

FIFA’s ethics committee has suspended him from all football-related activities for six years after finding him guilty of accepting an improper 2 million Swiss franc ($2.1 million, 1.8 million euros) payment from then-UEFA chief Platini.

But the ever-defiant Blatter said he had no plans to miss the World Cup, an event he has habitually attended since going to work at FIFA in the 1970s.

“I don’t know how long I will go for, whether I will be there for the opening match or the final,” he said during the interview in Zurich.

“Because I can’t work in football and I don’t have an assignment to do, maybe I will only make a short visit.”

Blatter is also the target of an investigation by Swiss prosecutors over alleged criminal mismanagement at FIFA and the infamous Platini payment.

Switzerland has ongoing probes into the 2018 World Cup, including possible bribery and corruption that may have led to Russia winning hosting rights.

“I’m sure that World Cup 2018 will be a great World Cup. Russia has to show that it can welcome the whole world. It’s a big challenge,” Blatter said.

It was not immediately clear how the FIFA ban would impact Blatter’s attendance at matches or events.

Platini, banned from football for four years, was allowed to attend Euro 2016 matches in his native France, provided he played no official role.

AFP

Football Ban: Swiss Supreme Court Rejects Platini’s Appeal

PlatiniSwitzerland’s Supreme Court has rejected former UEFA president, Michel Platini’s bid to overturn his four-year ban from the sport over ethics violations.

The court confirmed a Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruling in 2016 that upheld Platini’s ban.

The ruling stems from a $2.08million payment the French football legend received from FIFA in 2011.

Platini, who has denied wrongdoing, was banned along with Sepp Blatter, the former FIFA president who approved the payment.

Sports Court Upholds Former Fifa President Sepp Blatter Six-Year Ban

FifaFormer Fifa president Sepp Blatter’s six-year ban from football has been upheld after an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas).

The 80-year-old Swiss was banned over ethics breaches as his 17 years as head of football’s world governing body ended in a corruption scandal in 2015.

He was found to have made a £1.3m “disloyal payment” to ex-Uefa boss Michel Platini. Both deny wrongdoing.
BBC reports that Cas described the payment as “an undue gift” with “no contractual basis”.

Blatter said “no other verdict could be expected”.

He added: “I have to accept this decision. I have experienced much in my 41 years in Fifa. I mostly learned that you can win in sport, but you can also lose”.

In its written verdict, Cas said Blatter “requested the annulment of the ban but did not request a reduced penalty”.

It added: “In any event, the panel determined that the sanction imposed was not disproportionate”.

Fifa suspended Blatter and former France international Platini for eight years in December, but the bans were reduced to six years by its appeals committee.

Ex FIFA President, Joao Havelange Dies At Age 100

Fifa, World Cup DrawFormer president of the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), Joao Havelange has died at the age of 100.

According to reports in Brazil, Havelange, who competed as an Olympic swimmer for Brazil at Berlin in 1936 and was a member of their 1952 water polo team in Helsinki, died in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The Brazilian served as the seventh president of FIFA from 1974 and 1998 before Sepp Blatter took over.

João Havelange served as a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) from 1963 to 2011, him being the longest-serving active member upon his resignation.

Expressing his sympathies, FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, said: “During his 24 years as FIFA President football became truly global, reaching new territories and bringing the game to all corners of the world. Something the whole football community should be grateful for. I extend my condolences to his family”.

Joao Havelange was born in Rio de Janeiro on May 8, 1916 to Belgian immigrants, Jean-Marie Faustin Godefroid.

Though he trained as a lawyer, Havelange continued to pursue a career in the world of sport, becoming the head of the Brazilian delegation at the Melbourne Olympics in 1956 and the honorary president of Fluminense Football Club.

In 1958, at the age of 42, he was appointed chairman of the Brazilian Sports Association (CBD), which later became the Brazilian Football Association (CBF).

Voted on to the International Olympic Committee in 1963, Havelange was elected President of FIFA on 11 June 1974.

FIFA Fires Deputy Secretary General Kattner

Fifa, Markus KattnerWorld’s football governing body FIFA has fired its Deputy Secretary General, Markus Kattner, with immediate effect.

A statement released by FIFA said that an internal investigation “uncovered breaches of his fiduciary responsibilities in connection with his employment contract.”

Fifa said that it would not make any further comment, but it would “continue its cooperation with the relevant authorities.”

Kattner stepped in as FIFA’s acting secretary general in September replacing Jerome Valcke, who is currently facing a 12-year- ban.

Gianni Infantino Elected New FIFA President

InfantinoGianni Infantino has been elected as the new President of FIFA.

The UEFA General Secretary defeated all other candidates at the Extraordinary FIFA Congress at the Hallenstadion in Zurich on Friday afternoon.

The South African, Tokyo Sexwale, withdrew moments before the first vote. Sheikh Salman had been favourite to succeed Blatter because of support from the Asia and Africa, while Infantino had the backing of UEFA members.

“I cannot express my feelings in this moment. I told you I went through an exceptional journey, which made me meet many fantastic people, who live and breathe football, and many people deserve to see Fifa is highly respected.

“Everyone in the world will applaud us for what we will do. Everyone will be proud of what we will do.

“I want to work with you to establish a new era in which we can put football at the centre stage,” he said in his acceptance speech.

Infantino has been popular as a compere for various Uefa events. He will serve as the FIFA President until the next FIFA presidential election in 2019.

The final tally is as follows:

Gianni Infantino – 115 votes
Sheikh Salman – 88 votes
Prince Ali al-Hussein – 4
Jerome Champagne – 0

FIFA: Eight-year Ban For Sepp Blatter And Michel Platini

FifaThe President of FIFA, Sepp Blatter and UEFA boss, Michel Platini, have been suspended for eight years from all football-related activities following an ethics investigation.

They were found guilty of breaches surrounding a $2 million “disloyal payment” made to Platini in 2011.

The FIFA ethics committee said that Blatter and Platini had demonstrated an “abusive execution” of their positions.

Addressing a news conference after the decision was reached, Blatter, 79, said: “I will fight for me and for FIFA”.

The BBC quoted Platini as saying that the decision was a “masquerade” intended to “dirty” his name.

Both men continue to deny wrongdoing and intend to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Swiss Blatter and 60-year-old Frenchman Platini have also been fined $40,000 and $80,000 respectively.

FIFA boss since 1998, Blatter had already announced he was quitting with a presidential election in February.

Platini was tipped as a future leader of football’s world governing body and is a three-time European Footballer of the Year.

He is also a former captain of France and has been in charge of Uefa – European football’s governing body – since 2007.

Blatter was in defiant mood at a news conference he had called in advance of the punishments being made public.

Blatter Appears Before FIFA Ethics Committee

FIFA

Suspended FIFA President, Sepp Blatter, has arrived at FIFA Headquarters in Zurich for his hearing before the group’s ethics panel.

FIFA investigators in November, called for sanctions against Blatter and European football chief, Michel Platini, both of whom were suspended from their posts for 90 days pending a full investigation.

Blatter has reiterated that a two million dollars payment from FIFA to Platini, when he was running for re-election was legitimate and resulted from a verbal contract for work Platini had done for the organisation years before.

The payment was made in February 2011 for work the Frenchman carried out as Blatter’s Technical Advisor between 1999 and 2002.

FIFA’s ethics panel is set to rule on their cases next week, and could impose much longer bans than the provisional suspensions if it finds the men guilty of violations.

The 79-year-old Blatter suspended from his duties as FIFA President has denied any wrongdoing, calling the investigation into his conduct as “outrageous”.

The suspended FIFA President had responded to his provisional suspension, claiming that the ethics committee “did not follow the code of ethics and disciplinary code”.