Recently re-elected and embattled FIFA president Sepp Blatter will reportedly travel to North America twice this summer — to Canada and the United States — to attend the finals of each the 2015 Women’s World Cup (July 5) and CONCACAF Gold Cup (July 26).
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Following the handing down of indictments and execution of warrants for 14 current and former FIFA executives last week, there were serious questions as to whether the 79-year-old would risk stepping foot on American soil with a similar fate hanging over his head. With the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) responsible for last week’s arrests, traveling to the U.S. — or any politically-friendly country, like Canada — means serious exposure for the reportedly-crooked FIFA ringleader.
On Monday, a FIFA spokesperson was busy quashing speculation that Blatter would not appear at the final of two of this summer’s major international tournaments, which he has regularly attended in the past.
FIFA confirms to #SSNHQ that Sepp Blatter intends to travel to USA next month for CONCACAF Gold Cup.
— Bryan Swanson (@skysports_bryan) June 1, 2015
FIFA now telling me that Sepp Blatter does plan on attending the Women’s World Cup final.
— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) June 1, 2015
This is, of course, all very tentative at the moment and subject to change at the drop of a hat, given the potential for Blatter’s very own indictment to be handed down any day. The Internal Revenue Service made a statement last last week, announcing that further indictments are still to come.
Blatter is the obvious prize sitting atop and presiding over FIFA’s two-plus decades of corruption. With a number of key figures from below him — not to mention some of his closest friends and beneficiaries — currently in custody, Blatter appears to be the end-game target for the FBI and DOJ.
It is also possible that Blatter’s legal representatives have been in contact with any number of U.S. agencies over last few days, attempting to secure assurances that Blatter will not be indicted and arrested during his brief time in the U.S. or Canada.