Sport FIFA President Hits Back at US Accusations of Corruption

FIFA President Hits Back at US Accusations of Corruption

Sepp Blatter, re-elected Fifa president
Sepp Blatter, re-elected Fifa president

Earlier on Wednesday, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) unsealed an indictment charging 14 defendants — among them nine high-ranking FIFA officials — with racketeering, money laundering, as well as taking about $150 million in bribes and kickbacks.

Seven of the FIFA defendants were arrested in Switzerland on a US federal corruption warrant.

“There are signs that do not lie: the Americans were candidates for the World Cup 2022 and they lost,” Blatter said in late Friday’s interview with the Swiss RTS Info channel.

Swiss prosecutors have launched a separate inquest into the bidding process on the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments, awarded in 2010 to Russia and Qatar respectively.

“As FIFA President, I would never make statements about another organization without having certainty about what is happening there,” Blatter said, referring to the DoJ investigation.

Later on Friday, the US Internal Revenue Service announced it was preparing another round of indictments with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the FIFA corruption scandal.

Blatter, who has headed the global football governing body since 1998, was reelected to his fifth consecutive term at a FIFA Congress meeting in Zurich earlier on Friday.

“To resign would mean that I am guilty, otherwise I will fight for four years against corruption,” Blatter said.

During Friday’s vote, Blatter failed to gain the needed two-thirds majority in the first round, receiving 133 votes. But his only rival, Prince Ali bin Hussein of Jordan, withdrew from the race before the second round.