KEIR RADNEDGE in ZURICH: Sepp Blatter threw the gifts wrangle back at FIFA’s watchdogs today while refusing to say whether or not he had handed back the watch given to him by the Brazilian confederation.
Early this month Michael Garcia and Domenico Scala, chairmen of the ethics and compliance committees, said luxury watches given to 65 senior football leaders – including Blatter and his executive committee – far exceeded the permitted ‘trivial’ value.
Garcia has threatened possible disciplinary action if all the watches were not handed in to FIFA by October 24.
Blatter appeared irritated at being tackled on the gifts issue at the press conference which followed this week’s meeting of the executive committee.
Twice he avoided direct answers to questions on whether he had handed back the watch given to him by the World Cup-hosting Brazilian football confederation.
Blatter said: “This problem of the watches is a non-problem because it was a gift given by the CBF, on the occasion of its 100 years. What is maybe is perhaps the value.
“The CBF should have gone to the audit and compliance committee to see if such a gift is permitted. But speaking about corruption is totally wrong because Brazil had already been given everything they wanted to have.”
Blatter did concede, however, that FIFA needed a more specific guidance on the value of gifts.
He said: “What I want is that the compliance committee should give us guidelines when it comes to gifts.
“When there is an international match delegations from Team A and Team B always exchanges items. In England, at the 150th anniversary of the Football Association they have given gifts.
“So, at to what is permitted or not permitted, we need guidelines.”
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