Fifa president Sepp Blatter under investigation


Blatter is bidding for a fourth presidential term at Fifa

Fifa has opened ethics proceedings against its president, Sepp Blatter.

The action follows a charge by Mohamed Bin Hammam, his rival in next week’s presidency election, that Blatter knew about alleged cash payments.

Bin Hammam and vice-president Jack Warner will also be at Sunday’s hearing to answer charges of bribery.

Blatter issued a statement saying: “I cannot comment on the proceedings that have been opened against me. The facts will speak for themselves.”

The ethics committee are bound by their rules to investigate any complaint by an executive committee member under article 16 of the ethics code.

Bin Hammam and Warner face allegations from executive committee member Chuck Blazer that they offered bribes at a meeting of the Caribbean Football Union on 10 and 11 May.

A file of evidence claims bundles of cash of up to $40,000 were handed over to members of the CFU at the meeting in Trinidad.

In turn, Bin Hammam is effectively claiming Blatter was aware of some wrongdoing but did not report it, in itself a breach of the code.

The committee, chaired by Namibian judge Petrus Damaseb, will also be under pressure to decide whether Blatter will face any charges or not.

The move to place Blatter, one of the most powerful men in football, under investigtion is the latest twist in an increasingly bitter fight for the presidency of the sport’s global governing body.

And it also follows weeks of damaging headlines and allegations in the wake of the vote for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

BBC sports editor David Bond said: “Fifa is now an organisation completely at war. They cannot possibly continue in this way and many people will say they should suspend the presidential election, which takes place next Wednesday.

“Under Fifa’s ethics code, they are duty bound, if a member of the executive committee makes a complaint to the ethics committee, to then investigate it.

“So, it may be that the allegations against Blatter don’t come to much, and the allegations against Bin Hammam and Warner could be far more serious. Ultimately it seems the evidence against Blatter is only Bin Hammam’s word against his.

“It is very difficult to predict exactly what will happen next, but it’s hard to see this as anything other than a watershed moment for Fifa.

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