KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: FIFA has been unable to persuade Swiss judicial authorities to revive the pursuit of ex-president Sepp Blatter over a controversial media rights deal.

At issue was the granting in 1995 of World Cup television rights  by FIFA, of which Blatter was then president, to Jack Warner, notorious head of both the central and north American confederation CONCACAF and the the Caribbean Football Union.
Blatter sold rights to the 2010 World Cup to Warner for $250,000 and for 2014 for $350,000.Warner duly  transferred the rights to his own company which sold them on in 2007 to the TV broadcaster SportsMax for a reported $15m to $20m.
Swiss prosecutors dropped the case in May of last year because it was unable to determine the market value for the television rights and thus also not the amount of the damage.

An appeal by FIFA’, as the damaged party, that the case should be reinstated has been rejected by the the Board of Appeal of the Federal Criminal Court.

The court also found no indication that Blatter had been acting in breach of the contract for the television rights.

In any case the matter could not be pursued because of a statute of limitations since more than more than 15 years had passed since the contract was signed.

Blatter is not entirely out of the Swiss legal wood.

A criminal case continues into the infamous “disloyal payment” by FIFA on Blatter’s authorisation of $2m in February 2011 to the then UEFA president Michel Platini. Blatter is due in court to answer further questions next month but his ongoing health problems render this hearing questionable.

Platini, who is also facing charges over the payment, has denied all wrongdoing on the grounds that the money was a delayed sum owed for work he had undertaken on behalf of Blatter’s FIFA before he gained the UEFA presidency.

In March Blatter, having completed one FIFA ban for corruption, was handed a new six-year suspension for awarding himself excessive contractual bonuses.