FIFAGate: Swiss Officials To Keep Sepp Blatter Under Scanner
Swiss officials have not ruled out questioning Blatter in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup ballot case.
Last week, the Swiss prosecutors’ office said it had seized “electronic data and documents” at FIFA’s headquarters and were to question 10 FIFA executive committee members who took part in the World Cup ballot in December 2010.
The investigation was sparked by FIFA’s referral of its former chief investigator Michael Garcia’s report into the 2018 and 2018 World Cup bids last November.
The Swiss authorities raided FIFA’s office last week, after arresting seven FIFA officials at their hotels.
The ten officials who were questioned are African football chief Issa Hayatou (Cameroon), Senes Erzik (Turkey), Michel D’Hooghe (Belgium), Jacques Anouma (Ivory Coast), FIFA vice-president Angel Maria Villar-Llona (Spain), Hany Abo Rida (Egypt), Mario Lefkaritis (Cyprus), Worawi Makudi (Thailand), Vitaly Mutko (Russia) and Rafael Salguero (Guatemala).
The officials were selected on priority basis with those living outside of Zurich questioned first,
UEFA president Michel Platini may also be interviewed but because he lives in Switzerland, he will be interviewed later.
Swiss public prosecutor spokesman Andre Marty said that although Blatter was not involved, that could change as the probe progresses.
Swiss public prosecutor Andre Marty said: “The Office of the Attorney General is questioning those FIFA Executive Committee members who are not Swiss residents who voted back in 2010 (when the 2018 and 2022 World Cups were awarded to Russia and Qatar) and are still in office. The president of FIFA will not be questioned at this point of time. If need be he will be questioned in the future.”
Sepp Blatter’s daughter Corinne has come out in support of her father for the first time since the scandal rocked FIFA saying her father is the victim of a conspiracy from “behind the scenes”.
Corinne told a British channel “I wouldn’t say from the Americans and the British, but certainly people working behind the scenes, yes absolutely. I don’t know if you want to call them dark forces but I mean they really tried hard, they tried in September, October last year. All these things happened just to discredit him so that he would resign. But I can tell you in about two or three weeks no one will talk about it anymore.”
Asked whether her father was beyond fault, Ms Blatter said: “Nobody is without fault but all the things he has done so far, he’s not the person who is taking money. All the money he earned he earned it by working and he is a hard working president. All these people who say that he takes money I don’t know what kind of money he should take and he’s not the kind, his character is not like that, he’s not taking any money.”