Tag: Sepp Blatter

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - JULY 20: FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter attends a press conference at the Extraordinary FIFA Executive Committee Meeting at the FIFA headquarters on July 20, 2015 in Zurich, Switzerland. (Photo by Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Coca-Cola, McDonalds call for Blatter to step down


Two of FIFA’s biggest corporate sponsors have come out today and publicly stated a desire for Sepp Blatter to step down as president, immediately.

Both Coca-Cola and McDonalds have called for the highly-controversial leader to resign from office “in the best interest of the game.” An election for his replacement is set to be held in February, although there has been much back-and-forth as to whether Blatter should remain in power until then.

[ MORE: Swiss open criminal proceedings against Blatter ]

Coca-Cola emailed a statement that called for “comprehensive and urgent reform”:

Every day that passes, the image and reputation of FIFA continues to tarnish. FIFA needs comprehensive and urgent reform, and that can only be accomplished through a truly independent approach.

Then, McDonalds released the following statement:

The events of recent weeks have continued to diminish the reputation of FIFA and public confidence in its leadership. We believe it would be in the best interest of the game for FIFA President Sepp Blatter to step down immediately so that the reform process can proceed with the credibility that is needed.

Despite the growing pressure, Blatter’s lawyer responded by saying that his client would not be resigning as president.

While both major corporations calling for Blatter’s resignation is a step in the right direction, Blatter has shown his stubbornness throughout this whole scandal, adamant that he is unwilling to do so. If Coca-Cola and McDonalds were to go a step further and pull their monetary relationship with FIFA, then maybe a change would be more likely to happen.

Blatter to stay on as FIFA president: “I’ve done nothing illegal”

1 Comment

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has vowed to stay on despite a criminal investigations being launched against the 79-year-old by the Swiss authorities.

[ MORE: Bradley on “hate” ahead of USA-Mexico ]

Speaking in an internal FIFA staff meeting in Zurich on Monday, the 17-year leader of world soccer’s governing body claimed he had “done nothing illegal or improper” over suspicions of mismanagement regarding a TV deal with former FIFA president Jack Warner, plus a payment of $1.9 million to current UEFA president Michel Platini who is in the running to replace Blatter as FIFA’s president when he steps down on Feb. 26, 2016.

This latest show of defiance from Blatter comes after Swiss and U.S. authorities continue their probe into long-term corruption at the organization he had been at the head of for nearly two decades, while he has been involved in FIFA for almost 40 years in various roles.

Following sensational dawn raids in Zurich prior to the most recent FIFA presidential election — which Blatter won to secure a fifth-straight four-year term in charge — in May, Blatter announced that he was to resign his position.

His resignation will still take place as planned but despite allegations of criminal mismanagement hanging over his head, the head of FIFA will continue his role until the bitter end.

Did anybody expect anything else? Various reports suggest that both Blatter and Platini could be suspended by FIFA as the investigations by the Swiss authorities play out (that would mean the latter would be out of the next presidential election) but as of yet, no word has come from FIFA on how they plan to act regarding the matter.

Courtesy of Rob Harris from the Associated Press, here is a statement from Blatter’s lawyer.

“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.”

Jerome Valcke’s emails handed over by FIFA

Jerome Valcke, FIFA
1 Comment

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.”