ZURICH: Sepp Blatter has sought to reassure his office staff at FIFA headquarters in Zurich that he is working on as usual and that he has nothing to fear from the criminal investigation into his activities writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Blatter was informed about the investigation and questioned immediately after the conclusion of an exective committee meeting in the Home of FIFA last Friday lunchtime.
The Office of the Swiss Attorney-General, Michael Lauber, has identified two specific issues. One concerns the sale of World Cup television rights to former CONCACAF president Jack Warner and the second centres on a ‘disloyal payment’ to Michel Platini.
The Frenchman had been appointed a ‘football counsellor’ to Blatter between 1999 and 2002.Platini then gained election to the UEFA and FIFA executive committees before becoming European federation president in 2007.
A statement from Blatter’s legal advisers sought to quell the latest rising tide of criticism of the 79-year-old.
It said: “President Blatter spoke to FIFA staff today and informed the staff that he was cooperating with the authorities, reiterated that he had done nothing illegal or improper and stated that he would remain as president of FIFA.
“On the [UEFA President Michel] Platini matter, President Blatter on Friday shared with the Swiss authorities the fact that Mr. Platini had a valuable employment relationship with FIFA serving as an adviser to the president beginning in 1998. He explained to the prosecutors that the payments were valid compensation and nothing more and were properly accounted for within FIFA including the withholding of Social Security contributions.
“Because of the continuing investigation President Blatter will answer no further questions at this time.”