Tag: 2022 World Cup

AP Photo/Christophe Ena

FIFA announces bans for Blatter, Platini, Valcke, Mong-joon

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The headline reads “Independent Ethics Committee bans several football officials”, as FIFA stays defiant on naming names even to the death.

Sepp Blatter, Michel Platini, Jerome Valcke and Chung Mong-joon have all been banned by the Hans Joachim Eckert-run Ethics Comittee, with the first trio getting 90 days away from all soccer activities and former VP Mong-joon seeing a six-year ban.

[ EDWARDS: The case for firing Klinsmann (with a U.S. loss Saturday) ]

Blatter, Platini and Valcke could see an additional 45 days away on this charge, which would bring them right up to the next FIFA Presidential Election in February.

FIFA was sure to indicate in its press release that, of course, this is the Ethics Committee’s decision and not based on the investigations by Swiss and U.S. authorities (Commence eye-rolling). They also want to make sure you know which heinous villains are personally attacking Blatter and Platini:

The grounds for these decisions are the investigations that are being carried out by the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee. The chairman of the chamber is Dr Cornel Borbély. The investigation into Joseph S. Blatter is being carried out by Robert Torres, the investigation into Michel Platini by Vanessa Allard.

While Blatter and Valcke’s fates have seemed– key word: seemed, this is FIFA — sealed for a great deal of time, this suspension further dents Platini’s chances at the presidency. UEFA’s boss has been given every benefit of the doubt by European pundits, but looks unable to escape rumors pertaining to his actions regarding the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

Additionally, we should point out that while Blatter does in fact seemed doomed by international investigations, anything is possible with FIFA. While we await his legal status, it’s always possible the “innocent” administration wags its finger at all of us by making moves outside of the Ethics Committee’s decision.

Jerome Valcke’s emails handed over by FIFA

Jerome Valcke, FIFA
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GENEVA (AP) FIFA relented and handed over emails from suspended official Jerome Valcke on Thursday, having blocked access even as Sepp Blatter pledged support for American and Swiss investigations of corruption.

The embattled governing body should cooperate “no matter how close to home those investigations get,” Blatter, who is targeted by both criminal cases, had said earlier Thursday.

[ FOLLOW: All the latest FIFA news ]

“This is the difficult path we must follow if we are serious about change,” the FIFA president wrote in his weekly in-house magazine column.

Still, Blatter’s comments seemed at odds with FIFA’s behavior during a standoff with Switzerland’s attorney general Michael Lauber.

FIFA had continued to block attempts to unseal emails from Valcke’s business and personal accounts despite Lauber’s public request on Wednesday.

The stand-off ended late Thursday afternoon when FIFA finally stopped insisting that “several conditions will be fulfilled,” Lauber’s office said.

[ MORE: CONCACAF, U.S. Soccer still at odds over 2016 Copa ]

“FIFA informed the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) to unseal all email accounts belonging to Mr. Jerome Valcke, suspended Secretary-General,” the federal prosecutor’s office said in a statement. “Furthermore, the OAG is pleased to note that FIFA has handed over on its own initiative Mr. Jerome Valcke’s emails since May 2015.”

Valcke’s FIFA and Google email accounts were used to discuss a proposed deal for black-market 2014 World Cup ticket sales, a FIFA-contracted ticket agent alleged last week.

The French official denied wrongdoing but hours after the allegation was made he was suspended by FIFA which also asked its ethics committee to investigate.

“We need to show that we understand the severity of this situation and that we are ready to take the right steps to fix it,” Blatter wrote Thursday.

Lauber and U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch last week said at a shared news conference in Zurich that their respective cases implicating senior FIFA officials are expanding, and could yet indict Blatter.

[ MORE: Valcke wanted FIFA payoff before he was suspended ]

The U.S. case alleging bribery and racketeering among FIFA vice presidents and longtime executive committee members has indicted 14 people and taken guilty pleas from four others.

A Swiss case that started with FIFA’s complaint last year of possible money laundering in the 2018-2022 World Cup bid contests is now looking for evidence of criminal mismanagement across FIFA’s day-to-day business.

Blatter has denied wrongdoing and blamed corruption on individuals outside FIFA’s control.

In his column, Blatter linked the criminal investigations to the need for reforming FIFA when his 18-year presidency ends in February, after a previous round of modernizing changes fell short.

[ MORE: Platini speaks about possible USA-Qatar World Cup U-turn ]

“However, the highly regrettable events this year have made it painfully clear those changes have not been enough,” he wrote.

Failing to approve reforms at the Feb. 26 election congress in Zurich would be a “betrayal” of FIFA by the 209 member federations, Blatter suggested.

Some reforms, including term limits for top officials, were rejected by those same members last year in Brazil after Blatter told them that rules forced upon FIFA would later apply worldwide.

Still, Blatter reminded Thursday that “millions of fans around the world … rightly expect the highest standards from those managing the game.”

Michel Platini speaks about possible USA-Qatar World Cup U-turn

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Michel Platini could be in hot water ahead of the upcoming FIFA presidential vote in February 2016.

[ MORE: FIFA scandal latest from FBI, Swiss ]

In an interview with the Associated Press on Thursday ahead of a FIFA executive committee meeting in Zurich, Platini revealed that he “might have told” American officials that he would vote for the USA’s 2022 World Cup bid but then changed his mind and voted for Qatar after a meeting in Paris with the President of France and leading Qatari officials.

Below is an excerpt from the AP’s story on these new revelations regarding one of the FIFA presidential candidates and the current head of UEFA, European soccer’s governing body.

However, Platini’s critics have often accused the Frenchman of putting politics before football, especially when he voted for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup weeks after meeting with then-France President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Platini acknowledged that he “might have told” American officials that he would vote for the rival United States bid. However, he changed his mind after the November 2010 meeting, hosted by Sarkozy at his official residence in Paris and also attended by senior Qatari officials. Platini said it was not anything prearranged.

“Sarkozy never asked me to vote for Qatar, but I knew what would be good,” he said, smiling.

Well, Sarkozy having senior Qatari officials at a meeting attended by Platini and that last comment about “I knew what would be good” certainly isn’t helping out the case of the French national team legend. He has repeatedly stated his desire to separate politics from soccer if he is voted in as Sepp Blatter’s successor when the long-time FIFA president is replaced early next year. Blatter announced in June that he will resign after 17 years in charge of the organization which was rocked by the FBI-led charges that released details in May of over $150 million worth of corruption over a period spanning nearly two decades.

[ MORE: Mourinho – “Retaliation now allowed” ]

Platini, 60, has been a long-term friend of Blatter and has received plenty of attention in the past after his son was handed a job in Qatar after the voting for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup process.

Many are pointing towards Platini’s closeness to Blatter, and many of the other high-ranking FIFA officials who have been caught up in the recent U.S. and Swiss investigations into alleged widespread corruption, as a strong reason why federations should not vote for him in the next presidential election.

Comments like these from Platini will only strengthen that argument.