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Saturday, 26 September 2015
Football: FIFA chief Blatter faces criminal probe
Beleaguered FIFA president Sepp Blatter was placed under a criminal investigation on Friday in a dramatic escalation of the corruption scandal engulfing world football as would-be successor Michel Platini came under scrutiny for receiving a murky multi-million-dollar payment.
After months of probes following raids in Zurich which led to the indictment of more than a dozen top officials, Swiss investigators said their attention had now turned to actions carried out by Blatter and Platini.
Blatter, 79, had already announced his decision to stand down because of corruption allegations against other top officials and Platini had been the favourite to win an election to be held in February to succeed him.
Swiss prosecutors said Blatter was being investigated over the 2005 sale of World Cup television rights to the Caribbean Football Union, then run by former ally Jack Warner, a deal which had been “unfavourable for FIFA”.
Blatter was also suspected of a “disloyal payment” of two million dollars to Platini in February 2011 allegedly made for work the Frenchman carried out for FIFA between 1999 and 2002, before he was elected as head of UEFA.
Platini later Friday issued a statement insisting the payment had been for “contractual” work he had carried out for FIFA — but offered no explanation as to why the payment had arrived almost a decade after the work was complete.
Swiss authorities said Blatter was questioned as “a suspect”.
The statement added that Platini had been questioned “as a person called upon to give information”.