29 May 2011

FIFA president Sepp Blatter avoids corruption probe

Sepp Blatter appears to be on course for another term as FIFA president after world football’s governing body says he has no case to answer over corruption claims.

Mr Blatter is now set to stand unopposed for re-election on Wednesday

FIFA’s ethics committee has said president Sepp Blatter has no case to answer over corruption claims, leaving him a virtual certainty to stay in football’s top job.

Mr Blatter is now set to stand unopposed for re-election on Wednesday after his only rival, Mohamed Bin Hammam, pulled out of the contest.

Mr Bin Hammam and fellow executive committe member Jack Warner have been provisionally suspended pending a further investigation.

Ethics committee chairman Petrus Damaseb said: “The committee concluded that the implicated officials must be temporarily excluded from active participation in football activities.”

The allegations against them concerned a meeting of the Caribbean Football Union in May 10-11 in Port of Spain, attended by both men.

American executive committee member Chuck Blazer alleged that officials were offered inducements of $40,000 to vote for Mr bin Hamman in the election for FIFA president.

Mr Blatter was dragged into the scandal when Mr bin Hammam alleged that he knew of the allegations about bribes being offered and failed to act on that information.

But the FIFA president told the ethics committee that he had warned Mr Warner that making payments was not appropriate.

Mr Damaseb said: “The committee took the view that the obligation to report did not arise because at that stage no wrongdoing had occurred.”

Mr Warner denies that any such conversation with Blatter had taken place.

The committee said it was satisfied there was a case for Bin Hammam and Warner to answer, but stressed they were regarded as innocent until proven guilty.

Both Mr Bin Hammam, the Qatari head of the Asian Football Confederation, and Mr Warner, the president of the CONCACAF region that governs north and central America and the Caribbean, have denied any wrongdoing.

Two other Caribbean officials have also been suspended, FIFA said.

The scandal threatened to throw the organisation into turmoil, but FIFA has now confirmed that the presidential election will go ahead on Wednesday as planned, and Mr Blatter is almost certain to be re-elected.

FIFA also announced that the FA has cleared FIFA members Ricardo Teixeira and Worawi Makudi of allegations of bribery made by former FA chairman Lord Triesman relating to England’s failed 2018 World Cup bid.