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FIFA quash Blatter allegations

FIFA have rejected calls from the Council of Europe for Sepp Blatter’s unopposed re-election as president to be investigated.

Blatter, 75, won the FIFA presidential election unopposed in June last year following the withdrawal of rival Mohammed Bin Hammam, who was later banned from the organisation for life after being found guilty of bribery.

Swiss Blatter has held the office of FIFA President since 1998, and in that time has been the subject of several allegations of corruption and abuse of power.

The Council of Europe, an independent legal and democratic advisory body, called this week for FIFA to investigate “whether the candidates in its recent election for president – and particularly the successful candidate (Blatter) – exploited their institutional positions to obtain ‘unfair advantages for themselves or for potential voters’.”

The council also suggested FIFA “publish in full any judicial and other documents” relating to past corruption allegations, and “cast full light on the facts underlying the various scandals which, in recent years, have tarnished its image and that of international football.”

Of specific concern to the council is FIFA’s former marketing arm International Sports and Leisure, which collapsed due to bankruptcy in 2001.

The Council of Europe met last week with Swiss prosecutor Thomas Hildbrand, who led a court case against the ISL executives charged with financial mismanagement.

FIFA have rejected any claims of impropriety on the part of Blatter, and stood by their own proposals for internal reforms.

“All charges (against Blatter) were dismissed in full, as the Ethics Committee found that no breach of the code of ethics had been committed,” FIFA said in a statement.

“Regarding the process of reform, a clear road map has been established and published by FIFA and several task forces as well as an independent governance committee are working on proposals that will be presented … at the FIFA executive committee at the end of March 2012.”

The governing body also claimed there were ‘certain inaccuracies’ in the Council of Europe’s motion for a FIFA investigation.

Wed 7 March, 2012
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