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Former FIFA official Chuck Blazer has died at the age of 72, his lawyers have announced.

Chuck Blazer, who was banned from all soccer activities for life in 2015, had been suffering from cancer.

In 2013, he pleaded guilty to bribery, money laundering and tax evasion but agreed to help investigators expose corruption in FIFA.

Image source Sports Illustrated

A larger-than-life character, he was ex-chief of CONCACAF, North and Central American soccer’s governing body.

FIFA Corruption Scandal: Former Official Chuck Blazer Admits Taking Bribes

Chuck Blazer’s information led to charges against 14 other current or former FIFA officials, and contributed to the downfall of FIFA President Sepp Blatter.

His lawyers said in a statement: “We are truly saddened by the passing of our client and friend, Chuck Blazer.

“His misconduct, for which he accepted full responsibility, should not obscure Chuck’s positive impact on international soccer.”

FIFA Corruption Scandal: Ex-VP Jack Warner to Reveal All About Soccer Corruption

Chuck Blazer served on FIFA’s executive committee from 1997 to 2013, during which time he pocketed millions to fund a globe-trotting VIP lifestyle.

A 2013 report by CONCACAF’s integrity committee said he had received more than $20.6 million in commissions, fees and rental payments from the organization between 1996 and 2011.

Chuck Blazer’s personal excesses included two apartments in New York’s Trump Tower, one of which was exclusively for his cats.


Gianni Infantino has been cleared of wrongdoing following a FIFA investigation into his expenses, recruitment and alleged sacking of whistleblowers.

He took charge of soccer’s world governing body in February after the disgraced Sepp Blatter resigned.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

FIFA’s ethics committee found no “conflicts of interest” and no breaches of the organization’s ethics code.

“The benefits enjoyed by Mr. Infantino were not considered improper,” it said.

A leaked internal FIFA memo outlined a series of claims relating to 46-year-old Gianni Infantino. The claims were that he: left himself exposed to claims of a possible conflict of interest by using private jets laid on by a World Cup bidding country; filled senior posts without checking people’s eligibility for the role; billed FIFA for mattresses, flowers, a tuxedo, an exercise machine and personal laundry; demanded FIFA hire an external driver, who then billed the governing body for driving his family and advisors around while he was abroad.


Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura has become FIFA’s first female secretary general as she was appointed to succeed former secretary general Jerome Valcke, who was banned from soccer-related activity for 12 years.

The 54-year-old Senegalese spent 21 years working for the United Nations and will start at soccer’s governing body in June.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino said: “It is essential FIFA incorporates fresh perspectives as we continue to restore and rebuild our organization.

“She has a proven ability to build and lead teams, and improve the way organizations perform. Importantly for FIFA, she also understands that transparency and accountability are at the heart of any well-run and responsible organization.”Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura FIFA secretary general

Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura’s appointment, announced at FIFA’s congress in Mexico City, completes a new-look to an organization which has been dogged by corruption allegations under Jerome Valcke and previous president Sepp Blatter.

Sepp Blatter, who had led FIFA since 1998, stood down in 2015 and was later suspended from soccer for six years for breaching ethics guidelines.

Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura, who will undergo an eligibility check before her role is ratified, currently works for the UN in Nigeria, and speaks four languages.

She started her UN career as a senior logistics officer with the World Food Program in Rome in 1995 and has since served as country representative or director in six African countries, including Nigeria.

At her appointment, Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura said: “Today is a wonderful day for me, and I am honored to take on this role.

“This role is a perfect fit for my skills and experience – strategic, high-impact team building in international settings – which I will use to help grow the game of football all over the world.

“I also look forward to bringing my experience in governance and compliance to bear on the important reform work that is already underway at FIFA.

“FIFA is taking a fresh approach to its work – and I am eager to play a role in making that approach as effective and lasting as possible.”


Gianni Infantino has been elected as the ninth president of world soccer’s governing body FIFA.

The UEFA secretary general polled 115 votes, 27 more than closest rival Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa.

Prince Ali bin al-Hussein (4 votes) and Jerome Champagne (0) were third and fourth respectively.

Sepp Blatter, who had led FIFA since 1998, stood down last year and was later suspended from football for six years for breaching ethics guidelines.

Gianni Infantino is a 45-year-old lawyer from Brig in the Valais region of Switzerland, less than six miles from Sepp Blatter’s home town of Visp.Gianni Infantino FIFA president

He entered the presidential race when it became clear that UEFA President Michael Platini could not stand.

“I will work tirelessly to bring football back to FIFA and FIFA back to football,” Gianni Infantino said.

“This is what we want to do.”

He added: “I feel a lot of emotion and have not realized yet what has happened today.

“It is still very fresh and it’s been a long and exciting journey and I probably need some time to chill out and see what has happened.”

The election was due to be fought between five candidates, but South African Tokyo Sexwale withdrew before voting began in Zurich.

The first round of voting failed to determine an outright winner, though Gianni Infantino led with 88, three more than pre-vote favorite Sheikh Salman.

A simple majority of more than 50% – 104 of 207 available votes – was sufficient for victory in round two.

An emotional Gianni Infantino told delegates that together they would “restore the image of FIFA and the respect of FIFA”.

He added: “I want to work with all of you together in order to restore and rebuild a new era of FIFA where we can put again football at the centre of the stage.

“FIFA has gone through sad times, moments of crisis, but those times are over. We need to implement the reform and implement good governance and transparency. We also need to have respect.

“We’re going to win back this respect through hard work, commitment and we’re going to make sure we can finally focus on this wonderful game.”

To help the new president tackle the crisis that has enveloped FIFA, key reforms were passed to help make it a more transparent and accountable organization.

All salaries of FIFA officials will be disclosed, while a limit of four years has been placed on a president’s term.

A new council to replace the current executive committee has also been introduced, featuring a female representative from each confederation.


FIFA’s appeals committee has upheld all soccer-related activity bans on Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini.

However, the suspensions have been reduced from eight to six years.

Sepp Blatter, FIFA’s outgoing president, and UEFA President Michel Platini were found guilty of breaches surrounding a $2 million “disloyal payment” to Platini.

They both deny any wrongdoing and have said they will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Sepp Blatter, 79, and Michel Platini, 60, said the payment honored a verbal or gentleman’s agreement made in 1998 for work carried out by the Frenchman when he was a technical advisor for Blatter.

Photo EPA

Photo EPA

Swiss Sepp Blatter said in a statement that he was “very disappointed by the appeal committee of FIFA”.

Michel Platini said it was “insulting and shameful” and a “political decision”.

The committee said “activities and services rendered to FIFA, UEFA and football” was a mitigating factor.

FIFA’s presidential election is due to take place on February 26 to find Sepp Blatter’s replacement.

Sepp Blatter had already announced he was quitting after reports emerged he was under investigation in the United States.

Michel Platini had been tipped as a future leader of soccer’s world governing body and is a three-time European Footballer of the Year.

In a statement released after the announcement, Michel Platini said the accusations were without foundation and completely made up “beyond reality”.

He said the communication of the decision was done with “an unbearable arrogance” and that Friday’s congress would be remembered in history with the “mark of illegitimacy”.

“I am the victim of a system which has only had one goal – to stop me standing for the president of FIFA,” Michel Platini added.

The decision not to overturn the suspensions follows a 12-year ban imposed on Jerome Valcke, who was sacked as secretary general of world football’s governing body last month.

Jerome Valcke, the man responsible for running FIFA’s day-to-day administration, was found guilty of misconduct over the sale of World Cup tickets, abuse of travel expenses, attempting to sell TV rights below their market value and destruction of evidence. He also denies wrongdoing.


Michel Platini has announced he will not stand in the FIFA presidential election in February.

The 60-year-old suspended UEFA president, along with FIFA president Sepp Blatter, has been banned from soccer-related activities for eight years by world football’s governing body.

Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter were found guilty of breaches surrounding a 2 million euro “disloyal payment” made to Platini in 2011.

The two men are appealing against their bans, but Michel Platini says the timing of the February 26 election means he cannot run.

“I’m withdrawing from the race for the FIFA presidency,” Michel Platini told the Associated Press.

“The timing is not good for me. I don’t have the means to fight on equal terms with the other candidates.

“I have not been given the chance to play the game. Bye bye FIFA, bye bye FIFA presidency.” Michel Platini FIFA election 2016

Michel Platini, president of European soccer’s governing body since 2007, had submitted his candidacy for the FIFA presidential election but could not stand while suspended.

He and Sepp Blatter, 79, plan to take their cases to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

“I’ve spent more time in hearing rooms than on football pitches speaking about 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 or football news,” added Michel Platini.

“I’m taking this philosophically. Let’s wait and see what happens. But injustice is revolting me and I’m trying to fight it.”

Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter claimed the payment was honoring an agreement made in 1998 for work carried out between 1998 and 2002, when Platini worked as a technical adviser for Blatter.

FIFA’s ethics committee said there was “not sufficient evidence” to establish the payment was a bribe, but both men demonstrated an “abusive execution” of their positions.

“I can’t have any regret in that story because things fell upon my head while I haven’t done anything wrong,” added Michel Platini.

“I’m struggling to understand what happened, unless there was a will somewhere to prevent me from bidding.”

There are five candidates to succeed Sepp Blatter, who has been FIFA president since 1998:

  • Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa – 50, Bahrain, president of Asian Football Confederation;
  • Tokyo Sexwale – 62, South Africa, politician, businessman and former political prisoner;
  • Prince Ali bin al-Hussein – 40, Jordan, a former FIFA vice-president and 2015 FIFA presidential candidate;
  • Gianni Infantino – 45, Switzerland, UEFA general secretary and a member of FIFA’s reform committee;
  • Jerome Champagne – 57, France, a former FIFA assistant general secretary and former French diplomat.

Voting will take place by secret ballot, with all FIFA’s 209 member states having a vote each.


Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini have been suspended for eight years from all soccer-related activities following an ethics investigation.

The FIFA and UEFA heads were found guilty of breaches surrounding a 2 million euro “disloyal payment” made to Michel Platini in 2011.

The FIFA ethics committee found Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini had demonstrated an “abusive execution” of their positions.

“I will fight for me and for FIFA,” Sepp Blatter, 79, said at a news conference.

Michel Platini said the decision was a “masquerade” intended to “dirty” his name.

Both men continue to deny wrongdoing and intend to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini, 60, have also been fined $50,000 and $80,000 respectively.

Despite the ban, both Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini will be allowed to attend matches – including Euro 2016 in France – if they buy tickets in a private capacity.

FIFA boss since 1998, Sepp Blatter had already announced he was quitting with a presidential election in February.

Michel Platini was tipped as a future leader of football’s world governing body and is a three-time European Footballer of the Year.

He is also a former captain of France and has been in charge of UEFA – European soccer’s governing body – since 2007.

Unshaven and sporting a plaster over his right cheek, Sepp Blatter was in defiant mood at a news conference he had called in advance of the punishments being made public.

“I will fight,” he said.

“I will fight for me and for FIFA.”

Sepp Blatter said he was “really sorry” that he is still “a punching ball” and that he has become tainted in the eyes of humanity.

He added that he thought he had convinced the FIFA ethics tribunal that the payment from FIFA to Michel Platini was legitimate.

He plans to appeal, first to FIFA, then CAS. He may also take legal action under Swiss law if needed.

“The decision is no surprise to me,” he said in a statement.

“The procedure initiated against me by FIFA’s ethics committee is a pure masquerade.

“It has been rigged to tarnish my name by bodies I know well and who for me are bereft of all credibility or legitimacy.”

In the meantime, UEFA has issued a statement, revealing it is “extremely disappointed” with the decision.

It added: “Once again, UEFA supports Michel Platini’s right to a due process and the opportunity to clear his name.”


Michel Platini has failed in his bid to have his 90-day provisional suspension from soccer lifted.

UEFA president’s request was denied by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on December 11, which means Michel Platini will not be allowed to attend the Euro 2016 finals draw in Paris on December 12.

Michel Platini, 60, was suspended along with FIFA President Sepp Blatter in October while corruption claims are investigated.

Both deny any wrongdoing.Michel Platini FIFA suspension

Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter will have personal hearings with FIFA’s ethics committee next week, following allegations that a 2 million euro payment was made in 2011 for work Platini did as Blatter’s adviser.

A verdict is expected on December 21.

Ethics investigators for football’s world governing body, who handed down the initial 90-day suspension, have recommended a life ban for Michel Platini.

Sepp Blatter has announced he will stand down from his post, and FIFA’s next president will be chosen at a special congress on February 26, 2016.

Michel Platini is one of the favorites to replace Sepp Blatter and still plans to stand.


FIFA has confirmed that seven candidates will stand in its presidential election on February 26, 2016.

The candidates are:

  • Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, 39, president of the Jordan Football Association
  • Musa Bility, 48, president of the Liberian Football Association
  • Jerome Champagne, 57, former FIFA executive
  • Gianni Infantino, 45, UEFA’s general secretary
  • Michel Platini, 60, is UEFA president and FIFA vice-president
  • Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, 49, Asian Football Confederation president
  • Tokyo Sexwale, 62, former South Africa’s government ministerFIFA election 2016

Trinidadian ex-soccer player David Nakhid was not included on the list, despite saying he had submitted his candidacy.

The election is to find a successor to the suspended Sepp Blatter, who is under criminal investigation.

Sepp Blatter, 79, announced he would be stepping down in June, with world soccer’s governing body at the centre of a corruption scandal.

Michel Platini, the head of European soccer’s governing body, is also suspended, but FIFA’s electoral committee says it may allow him to stand if his ban ends before the election date.

FIFA and Swiss prosecutors are investigating reports that a 2 million euros payment was made in 2011 for work Michel Platini did as Sepp Blatter’s adviser.

Both Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter deny any wrongdoing and are appealing against their 90-day bans.

Under FIFA electoral rules, all candidates had to obtain the written backing of five soccer associations.


Sepp Blatter has revealed he had a “gentleman’s agreement” with Michel Platini over the 2 million euro payment he made to the UEFA president in 2011.

The 79-year-old FIFA president faces a criminal investigation over the payment, made nine years after Michel Platini, 60, carried out consultation work for the Swiss.

Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini deny any wrongdoing.

“It was a contract I had with Michel Platini, a gentleman’s agreement that was followed through on,” Sepp Blatter told Swiss broadcaster RROTV.

Soccer’s world governing body FIFA has imposed a 90-day suspension on Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini while corruption claims concerning the payment are investigated.Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter FIFA corruption scandal

Former France international captain and coach Michel Platini says the money was an unpaid additional salary due from the time he served as Sepp Blatter’s advisor between 1998 and 2002.

Following a UEFA meeting on October 15, the Football Association (FA) suspended its support for Michel Platini’s bid to become FIFA president “until the legal process has been concluded and the position is clear”.

UEFA issued a statement saying Micehl Platini should be given the opportunity “to clear his name” and urged the FIFA ethics committee to conclude its investigation by mid-November.

The FIFA presidential election is scheduled to take place on February 26, 2016.

Meanwhile, FIFA says it will investigate “very serious allegations” that a 6.7 million euro payment was made to it by Germany’s 2006 World Cup organizing committee.

The bid, led by former World Cup-winning captain and coach Franz Beckenbauer, edged out favorites South Africa in the July 2000 vote to win the hosting rights for the 2006 tournament.

FIFA said the allegations would be reviewed “as part of the independent internal investigation currently being conducted by FIFA under the direction of its legal director with the assistance of outside counsel”.

Germany’s Football Association is also investigating the payment, saying it had found no indication of wrongdoing in the overall bid process but that the payment “may potentially not have been used for the intended purpose”.

Soccer’s world governing body FIFA has decided to suspend its president Sepp Blatter, secretary general Jerome Valcke and vice-president Michel Platini for 90 days.

The sanctions were handed out by the FIFA’s ethics committee, which is investigating the three over corruption allegations.

It also banned ex-FIFA vice-president Chung Mong-joon for six years.

Issa Hayatou, who heads Africa’s soccer confederation (CAF), will act as FIFA president during Sepp Blatter’s ban.

Spain’s Angel Maria Villar is expected to perform the same role at UEFA – European soccer’s governing body – while Michel Platini is suspended.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

Both Chung Mong-joon and Michel Platini are hoping to replace Sepp Blatter when he steps down as president in February 2016.

“The grounds for these decisions are the investigations that are being carried out by the investigatory chamber of the ethics committee,” the FIFA said in a statement.

Sepp Blatter, Jerome Valcke and Michel Platini are banned from any soccer activity in the interim. They deny any wrongdoing.

Earlier this year, US authorities indicted 14 FIFA officials and associates on bribery and racketeering charges. A simultaneous Swiss investigation was started into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Michel Platini and South Korean billionaire Chung Mong-joon – who was also fined 100,000 Swiss Francs by the ethics committee – are two of the leading candidates to replace Sepp Blatter in February.

Soccer’s governing body FIFA has decided to provisionally suspend its president, Sepp Blatter, for ninety days.

Members of FIFA’s ethics committee met this week after the Swiss attorney general opened criminal proceedings against Sepp Blatter, 79, in September. They have recommended a 90-day provisional suspension.

Swiss Sepp Blatter is accused of signing a contract “unfavorable” to soccer’s governing body and making a “disloyal payment” to UEFA president Michel Platini, 60.

Sepp Blatter, who has run FIFA since 1998, and Michel Platini, who wants to succeed him, deny any wrongdoing.

A final decision will be made on October 9 by Hans Joachim Eckhert, the head of FIFA’s ethics adjudicatory chamber, according to a close friend of Sepp Blatter.

No decision has been made on whether to suspend Michel Platini.Sepp Blatter suspended by FIFA

On October 7, Sepp Blatter told a German magazine that he was being “condemned without there being any evidence for wrongdoing”.

The ethics committee’s adjudicatory chamber had been meeting in Zurich since October 5.

The investigation is centered on allegations believed to be around a 2005 TV rights deal between FIFA and Jack Warner, the former president of CONCACAF, the governing body of football in North and Central America and the Caribbean.

It is also examining a payment of 2 million Swiss francs that Michel Platini received in 2011 for working for Sepp Blatter. He claims it was “valid compensation” for work carried out more than nine years previously.

Michel Platini has provided information to the criminal investigation but said he has done so as a witness.

Swiss prosecutors said Michel Platini is being treated as “in between a witness and an accused person” as they investigate corruption at FIFA.


Soccer’s governing body chief Sepp Blatter and UEFA President Michel Platini are facing an investigation by FIFA’s ethics committee.

The move comes after the Swiss attorney general opened criminal proceedings against 79-yar-old Sepp Blatter.

Sepp Blatter is accused of signing a contract “unfavorable” to FIFA and making a “disloyal payment” to UEFA President Michel Platini, 60.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

The FIFA president denies wrongdoing and his lawyer says he is co-operating fully.

The ethics committee is looking into the circumstances of a payment of 2 million Swiss francs ($2.2 million) that Michel Platini received in 2011 for work said to have been carried out more than nine years previously, reported the Press Association.

Swiss prosecutors opened criminal proceedings against Sepp Blatter on September 25.

Michel Platini – who worked as Sepp Blatter’s technical advisor between 1999 and 2002 – was interviewed as a witness by officers from the attorney general’s office.

Michel Platini is yet to explain the nine-year delay in payment but he too denies any wrongdoing.


Switzerland has opened a criminal proceedings against FIFA President Sepp Blatter.

The Swiss attorney general’s office said Sepp Blatter was suspected of criminal mismanagement or misappropriation over a TV rights deal and of a “disloyal payment” to European soccer chief Michel Platini.

Sepp Blatter, 79, was being questioned, and his office was searched, it added.

The world’s governing body said it was co-operating with the investigation.

Sepp Blatter has run FIFA since 1998 and has always denied any wrongdoing.

The attorney general’s office said the investigation surrounds a TV rights deal Sepp Blatter signed with former Caribbean soccer chief Jack Warner in 2005.FIFA President Sepp Blatter under investigation in Switzerland

“Swiss criminal proceedings against the president of FIFA, Mr. Joseph Blatter, have been opened… on suspicion of criminal mismanagement… and – alternatively – misappropriation,” it said.

Sepp Blatter is also suspected of making a “disloyal payment” of two million Swiss francs ($2 million) in 2011 to Michel Platini, the head of the European soccer body UEFA, the statement said.

It said the payment was “at the expense of FIFA, which was allegedly made for work performed between January 1999 and June 2002”.

Sepp Blatter is due to step down in February and Michel Platini is widely expected to replace him.

In May, Swiss authorities arrested seven FIFA officials in Zurich at the request of the US. They face extradition.

The US then unveiled indictments against seven other people in their corruption case, nine of whom are high-ranking officials.

Among them was Jack Warner, president of the Caribbean football association CONCACAF and one of the most powerful men in world football. He is currently in Trinidad awaiting extradition to the US on charges of corruption.

The Swiss opened their own investigation into FIFA hours after the initial arrests.

FIFA owns the TV rights to the World Cup and sells them to regional federations which then sell them on to broadcasters.

Sepp Blatter’s lawyer, Richard Cullen, said he was confident the inquiry would clear Blatter of any wrongdoing regarding the contract with Jack Warner.

“We are confident that when the Swiss authorities have a chance to review the documents and the evidence, they will see that the contract was properly prepared and negotiated by the appropriate staff members of FIFA who were routinely responsible for such contracts, and certainly no mismanagement occurred,” he said.

Sepp Blatter won a fifth consecutive FIFA presidential election on May 29 but, following claims of corruption, announced his decision to step down on June 2. He is due to finish his term at a FIFA extraordinary congress on February 26.

FIFA canceled its news conference on September 25 only minutes before it was due to start.

Sepp Blatter would have been speaking in public for the first time since general secretary Jerome Valcke was suspended last week amid allegations regarding ticket sales at the 2014 World Cup.

Newspaper reports implicated Jerome Valcke, 54, in a scheme to sell tickets for above face value.

Jerome Valcke, who describes the allegations as “fabricated”, has been released from his duties pending an investigation.

FIFA also announced earlier that it had moved its next executive committee meeting from Tokyo to Zurich.

Correspondents say that, although Sepp Blatter has not been indicted, he might be more vulnerable to an extradition request outside of Switzerland.


The US has asked Switzerland to extradite seven FIFA officials arrested on corruption charges in May, the Swiss authorities say.

Formal extradition requests were submitted on July 1, the Swiss Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) said.

The seven top executives arrested in Zurich are among 14 FIFA officials indicted on charges of “rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted” corruption.

The charges follow a major inquiry by the FBI.

The FOJ said Zurich police, acting on its behalf, would give the seven officials a hearing over the extradition requests.

The officials and their lawyers would have 14 days to respond to the request, which could be extended, the FOJ statement said.

After that, the FOJ would give its decision “within a few weeks”, but warned that any ruling could be challenged in both the federal criminal court and the federal supreme court.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

Jeffrey Webb, FIFA vice-president in charge of North and Central America, was among those arrested by Swiss police in a raid on a luxury hotel in the early hours of May 27.

The seven are among 14 defendants the US has charged with racketeering, wire fraud, and money laundering conspiracies.

In a 47-count indictment unveiled in a New York federal court, they were accused of taking part “in a 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer”.

The indictment alleges that US and South American sports marketing executives paid and agreed to pay “well over $150 million” in bribes and other illegal payments to obtain lucrative media and marketing rights to football tournaments.

The corruption was planned in the US, the indictment said. The use of US banks to transfer money appears to have been key to the investigation.

The charges follow a three-year FBI investigation. It was initially sparked by the bidding process for the Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022 World Cups, but was then widened to look back at FIFA’s dealings over two decades.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter has not been indicted, although both the US and Swiss authorities have said they may interview him as part of their investigations.


The 2026 World Cup bidding process has been delayed amid corruption allegations around the 2018 and 2022 tournaments.

According to FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke, it was “a nonsense” to begin the process in the current climate.

The vote to decide who will host the 2026 World Cup is due to take place in Kuala Lumpur in May 2017.

The US is front-runner to stage the tournament, but Canada, Mexico and Colombia are also thought to be interested.

Russia and Qatar were selected to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups by a secret ballot of FIFA’s 22 executive members in December 2010.FIFA World Cup 2026 bidding suspended

Meanwhile Swiss prosecutors are investigating alleged financial irregularities surrounding the bidding process. Both Russia and Qatar have denied any wrongdoing.

Soccer’s world governing body had planned to inform its member federations this week of the bidding schedule for 2026, but Jerome Valcke said: “Due to the situation, I think it’s nonsense to start any bidding process for the time being.”

Speaking in the Russian city of Samara, Jerome Valcke also defended FIFA’s handling of a $10 million payment from the South African government towards a Caribbean Diaspora legacy program.

US prosecutors allege the payment was a bribe to help secure the 2010 World Cup for South Africa.

The South African government insists it was a legitimate payment to promote Caribbean football.

Jerome Valcke said: “It was not FIFA’s money. It was a request from official South African authorities and the South African Football Association (SAFA). As long as it is in line with rules we do it.

“I don’t understand what’s the problem and why I am such a target in this question.”

FIFA President Sepp Blatter has announced he will step down from his role, amid the ongoing allegations of corruption in the governing body, including the indictment of 14 people on corruption charges by US authorities.

Sepp Blatter is expected to be replaced at an election on December 16.

When faced with questions over his own future, Jerome Valcke said: “You – the media – have decided that after Blatter I am the head to be cut, fine, but don’t say it is because of this $10 million.”


FIFA President Sepp Blatter’s 17-year reign at the soccer’s governing body could come to an end on December 16, 2015.

Representatives from all 209 member associations will be invited to Zurich to vote in a new presidential election.

Sepp Blatter, 79, resigned as FIFA’s president just four days after being re-elected last month.FIFA President Sepp Blatter 2015

The Swiss tended his resignation amid two corruption probes of his organization.

Seven FIFA officials were arrested on May 27 following a dawn raid on a luxury hotel in Zurich.

They were among 14 officials and associates indicted by US authorities on racketeering and bribery charges.

Swiss prosecutors have also begun a criminal investigation into how the rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups were awarded.

There is a long list of potential successors for Sepp Blatter.

Among the possible candidates is Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, who lost out to Sepp Blatter in last month’s election.


Former FIFA vice-president and CONCACAF President Jack Warner has said that he will reveal all he knows about corruption at the world soccer body.

In an address on Trinidadian TV on June 3, Jack Warner, who said he feared for his life, also said he could link FIFA officials to general elections in his native Trinidad and Tobago in 2010.

The 72-year-old is one of the 14 people charged by the US over alleged corruption at FIFA.

Another top FIFA official and key witness, American Chuck Blazer, has admitted accepting bribes.

The admissions came in a newly released transcript of Chuck Blazer’s guilty plea from 2013, as part of a wide-ranging US criminal case that has engulfed FIFA and led President Sepp Blatter to resign.FIFA corruption Jack Warner confession

The DoJ alleges the 14 people charged worldwide accepted bribes and kickbacks estimated at more than $150 million over a 24-year period. Four others have already been charged, including Chuck Blazer.

Jack Warner resigned from all soccer activity in 2011 amid bribery allegations and later stepped down as Trinidad and Tobago’s security minister amid a fraud inquiry.

A key figure in the deepening scandal, Jack Warner said he had given lawyers documents outlining the links between FIFA, its funding, himself and the 2010 election in Trinidad and Tobago. He said the transactions also included Sepp Blatter.

In the TV address entitled The Gloves Are Off, Jack Warner said: “I will no longer keep secrets for them who actively seek to destroy the country.”

He promised an “avalanche” of revelations to come, speaking to his supporters at a rally later the same day.

Jack Warner, who denies the charges against him and faces extradition to the US, was released on bail after handing himself in to police in the Trinidad and Tobago capital of Port of Spain last week.

He resigned from FIFA’s executive committee in 2011 amid allegations he had bribed his Caribbean associates.

Jack Warner’s address came hours after the details of Chuck Blazer’s 2013 plea bargain came to light, including the admission that he and other officials had accepted bribes in connection with the 2010 World Cup bid, which saw the tournament awarded to South Africa.

On June 4, South African police said they had opened a preliminary investigation into allegations its national soccer association paid a $10 million bribe to host the tournament – a claim the authorities deny.


Chuck Blazer, the most senior American official at FIFA, has admitted that he and others on the executive committee agreed to accept bribes in conjunction with the choice of South Africa as 2010 World Cup host.

Chuck Blazer said he also helped to arrange bribes over the 1998 event.

The admissions come in a newly released transcript from a 2013 US hearing in which he pleads guilty to 10 charges.

The US has launched a wide-ranging criminal case that engulfed FIFA and led President Sepp Blatter to resign.

The US prosecutors last week indicted 14 people on charges of bribery, racketeering and money laundering. Four others had already been charged, including Chuck Blazer.

The DoJ alleges they accepted bribes and kickbacks estimated at more than $150 million over a 24-year period.Chuck Blazer FIFA bribes

Seven of the 14 were top FIFA officials who were arrested in Zurich, Switzerland, as they awaited the FIFA congress. Two were vice-presidents.

The details of Chuck Blazer’s guilty pleas came as prosecutors unsealed the transcript of the 2013 hearing in the Eastern New York District Court. The admissions are part of a sentencing deal with prosecutors.

Chuck Blazer, 70, was the second highest official in FIFA’s North and Central American and Caribbean region (CONCACAF) from 1990 to 2011 and also served on FIFA’s executive committee between 1997 and 2013.

In the transcript, prosecutors refer to FIFA “and its membership or constituent organization” as a RICO enterprise – a Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization.

Chuck Blazer says: “Beginning in or around 2004 and continuing through 2011, I and others on the FIFA executive committee agreed to accept bribes in conjunction with the selection of South Africa as the host nation for the 2010 World Cup.”

On June 3, South Africa denied paying a $10 million bribe to secure the hosting of the 2010 event.

Chuck Blazer also says: “I and others agreed to accept bribes and kickbacks in conjunction with the broadcast and other rights to the 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2003 Gold Cups (the regional championship for national teams).”

Other admissions among the 10 charges in the 40-page dossier include US tax evasion.

Federal agents investigating the tax evasion had detained Chuck Blazer and he agreed to co-operate in the US investigations.

He is said to have agreed to record his colleagues using a microphone hidden in a keychain.

Chuck Blazer is said to be seriously ill, suffering from colon cancer.

In addition to the US case, Swiss authorities have launched a criminal investigation into how the 2018 and 2022 World Cups were allocated.

Qatar has said there is no way it will be stripped of the right to host the 2022 World Cup despite the corruption probe.

Foreign minister Khaled al Attiyah dismissed what he called “a bashing campaign” as anti-Arab prejudice and said Qatar was confident it could prove there had been no wrongdoing in its selection.

In another development, former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner made a televised address in Trinidad on June 3 in which he said he could link FIFA officials to the 2010 election in Trinidad and Tobago.

Jack Warner has been indicted by the US with corruption, a charge he strongly denies.

On June 3, FIFA President Sepp Blatter was given a 10-minute standing ovation by some 400 staff as he returned to FIFA’s Zurich headquarters a day after announcing he was to step down.

Reportedly close to tears, Sepp Blatter urged his “fantastic team” to “stay strong”.


Members of soccer governing body FIFA are set to vote for their new president at their congress in Zurich, amid a huge corruption scandal.

Incumbent President Sepp Blatter is seeking a fifth term. His only challenger is Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan.

The vote of FIFA’s 209 members comes two days after seven top officials were held in Zurich in a US fraud inquiry that indicted 14 people.

Sepp Blatter, 79, has faced calls to quit but says he is not responsible for the scandal and is favorite to win.

Both Sepp Blatter and Prince Ali bin- al-Hussein, 39, will have 15 minutes to address the delegates.

Each of the 209 member associations can then vote.

In the first round, a candidate must get two-thirds of the votes to win outright, or 140 votes.

If that is not achieved there will be a second round requiring a simple majority, even though there are only two candidates.

Sepp Blatter, who is in office for 17 years, remains the favorite, with strong support in Asia, the Americas and Africa.Sepp Blatter vs Prince Ali bin al Hussein FIFA elections 2015

At the congress opening on May 28, Sepp Blatter addressed the issue of corruption, insisting it fell to him to “fix things”.

He said: “We cannot allow the reputation of football and FIFA to be dragged through the mud and it has to stop here and now.”

However, Sepp Blatter distanced himself from the scandal, saying: “Many people hold me ultimately responsible for the… global football community… I cannot monitor everyone all of the time. If people want to do wrong they will also try to hide it.”

He said the “actions of individuals” had brought “shame and humiliation on football”.

Prince Ali bin al-Hussein has the support of most of Europe.

Responding to the scandal, Prince Ali said that FIFA needed leadership that “accepts responsibility for its actions and does not pass blame… and restores confidence in the hundreds of millions of football fans around the world”.

He said: “I am a straightforward person with straightforward ideas and ethics – a person who loves our sport.”

The head of European football’s governing body, UEFA, Michel Platini, was one of those calling for Sepp Blatter to quit.

At an emergency meeting with other FIFA confederation heads and Sepp Blatter on May 28, Michel Platini said he had asked the president “as a friend” to resign, saying: “I have had enough – enough is enough, too much is too much.”

Sepp Blatter refused, and the other confederations agreed with him that Friday’s vote should go ahead.

Two criminal investigations were announced on May 27.

The US investigation accuses those indicted of bribery, racketeering and money-laundering involving tens of millions of dollars over 24 years since 1991.

It includes allegations of bribes to influence the outcome of bids to stage football tournaments such as the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and the 2016 Copa America in the US.

Two FIFA vice presidents were among those arrested in Zurich.

One of them, Jeffrey Webb, was on May 28 “provisionally dismissed” as head of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF).

Swiss prosecutors have launched a separate investigation into the bidding process for the World Cup tournaments in 2018 in Russia and 2022 in Qatar.

Meanwhile, many of FIFA’s major sponsors have expressed concern over the investigations.

Coca-Cola, Visa, Adidas, McDonald’s, Hyundai Motor and Budweiser are pressing FIFA to take immediate action to restore its reputation.


FIFA will open its annual congress despite warnings from sponsors that they may review ties over the arrest of seven top officials on corruption charges.

FIFA’s key sponsors have issued statements putting increasing pressure on the soccer governing body over the mounting corruption allegations.

Visa warned that it will reassess its sponsorship unless FIFA makes changes.

Coca-Cola said: “The lengthy controversy has tarnished the mission and ideals of the FIFA World Cup.”

Adidas, McDonald’s and Hyundai Motor also expressed concern and said they were monitoring the situation closely.

The European football body UEFA will decide whether to boycott May 29 vote for the next FIFA president.Seven FIFA officials arrested in Zurich 2015

Incumbent President Sepp Blatter has yet to appear in public since the arrests.

Sepp Blatter, who is hoping to secure a fifth term at FIFA’s congress in Zurich, was not named in the corruption investigations.

FIFA provisionally banned from football-related activity 11 of the 14 people charged by the US authorities on Wednesday.

They are accused of racketeering, fraud and money laundering, including charges of receiving bribes to influence the outcome of bids to stage football tournaments, such as the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and the 2016 Copa America in the US. South African’s main football body has denied the claim.

Sepp Blatter said on May 27: “Such misconduct has no place in football and we will ensure that those who engage in it are put out of the game.”

Swiss prosecutors plan to interview ten FIFA executive committee members as part of a separate investigation into the bidding process for the World Cup tournaments in 2018 in Russia and 2022 in Qatar.

UEFA reacted to the latest events by saying they were “a disaster for FIFA and tarnish the image of football as a whole”.

The European body said Friday’s congress risked becoming a “farce” and that the vote should be postponed.

Those indicted in the US case are accused of accepting bribes and kickbacks estimated at more than $150 million over a 24-year period beginning in 1991.

Spelling out details of the US case, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said some FIFA executives had “used their positions to solicit bribes. They did this over and over, year after year, tournament after tournament”.

The seven arrested in Zurich were vice-presidents Jeffrey Webb and Eugenio Figueredo; Eduardo Li, Julio Rocha, Costas Takkas, Rafael Esquivel and Jose Maria Marin. They face extradition requests from the US.


World football’s governing body, Federation Internationale de Fooball Association (FIFA), agreed to publish a “legally appropriate version” of a report into allegations of World Cup bidding corruption.

However, FIFA insisted Russia and Qatar will stay as hosts of the 2018 and 2022 tournaments respectively.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter said he asked the executive committee to vote in favor of publishing the report.

“We have always been determined the truth should be known,” he said.

“That is, after all, why we set up an independent ethics committee with an investigatory chamber that has all necessary means to undertake investigations on its own initiative.”

Only a disputed summary of Michael Garcia’s 430-page report into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups has so far been published.

Releasing the full report, which is likely be heavily redacted to preserve witness confidentiality, is a change in FIFA policy.

However, it will only be published once ongoing investigations into five individuals are completed.

“We need to ensure that we respect the rules of our organization and that we do not breach confidentiality in a way that will prevent people from speaking out in the future,” added Sepp Blatter.

The 78-year-old Swiss, seeking a fifth term as president, insisted later that there was no reason for Russia and Qatar to lose their rights to stage future World Cups.

“At the current time, there is no reason to go back on our decisions,” he told a news conference, speaking in German.

“The two World Cups are in the calendar, the only thing missing is the precise dates for 2022, but these two World Cups will take place.”

Addressing Qatar specifically, Sepp Blatter added that only an “earthquake” could change FIFA’s decision to hold the 2022 tournament in the Gulf state.

“It would really need an earthquake, extremely important new elements to go back on this World Cup in Qatar,” he said.

The Ameican lawyer, Michael Garcia, was appointed FIFA’s independent ethics investigator in 2012 and spent two years investigating all nine bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups following claims of corruption and collusion.

Michael Garcia travelled the world speaking to bid officials and appealing for evidence of wrongdoing.

He eventually submitted a report to FIFA in September 2014.

FIFA subsequently released a 42-page summary that cleared Russia and Qatar of corruption.

However, Michael Garcia was unhappy with it, claiming it was “incomplete and erroneous”.

Earlier this week, Michael Garcia resigned, citing “lack of leadership” at FIFA.

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FIFA has admitted that Sao Paulo stadium where the opening match of the 2014 World Cup is due to be played in Brazil will not be ready until April.

“We have received information that it will be ready on 14 or 15 April,” said FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

However, Sepp Blatter reaffirmed that “there’s no plan B” and the opening match will go ahead as planned in Sao Paulo on June 12, 2014.

Five other stadia are still under construction.

Sao Paulo stadium where the opening match of the 2014 World Cup is due to be played in Brazil will not be ready until April

Sao Paulo stadium where the opening match of the 2014 World Cup is due to be played in Brazil will not be ready until April

Two people died last week at the opening match venue – Sao Paulo’s Arena Corinthians, or Itaquerao – as a construction crane collapsed.

Sepp Blatter said the venues will be ready in time: “We believe it is a question of trust. It will be done.”

He was speaking at Costa do Sauipe, a seaside resort in Bahia state where on Friday FIFA will carry out the draw that will define the groups for the opening stage of the World Cup.

On Thursday, Brazil’s Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo said six venues – in Sao Paulo, Curitiba, Porto Alegre, Cuiaba, Manaus and Natal – would miss FIFA’s original December 31 deadline and only be ready in January.

Brazil’s other six stadiums, including a revamped Maracana stadium in Rio, were opened ahead of last June’s Confederations Cup.

The Brazilian government’s preparations for the World Cup have been repeatedly criticized, as they have run over budget and behind schedule.

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Addressing the delegates of the European Olympic Committees at the Vatican on Saturday, Pope Francis has warned that the commercialization of sport may undermine its spiritual values.

Pope Francis told Olympic leaders that looking for profit and victory at all costs risked reducing athletes “to mere trading material”.

“Sport is harmony, but if money and success prevail as the aim, this harmony crumbles,” the Pope said.

The pontiff has struck a different tone to his predecessor on a range of issues.

Pope Francis said recently the Church was too focused on preaching about abortion, gay people and contraception.

He played basketball as a young man and is a keen supporter of his local San Lorenzo football club in Buenos Aires.

Pope Francis told Olympic leaders that looking for profit and victory at all costs risked reducing athletes to mere trading material

Pope Francis told Olympic leaders that looking for profit and victory at all costs risked reducing athletes to mere trading material

Pope Francis had two days of meetings with leaders of the world of sport. He met Sepp Blatter, the head of the International Football Federation (FIFA) and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach.

He has also been talking about the spiritual values of team games with the rugby squads of Italy and Argentina – ahead of their encounter in Rome.

“Rugby is like life because we are all heading for a goal. We need to run together and pass the ball from hand to hand until we get to it,” Pope Francis told the rugby players.

Addressing the delegates of the European Olympic Committees at the Vatican on Saturday, the Pope said: “When sport is considered only in economic terms and consequently for victory at every cost, it risks reducing athletes to mere trading material from whom profits are extracted.”

Thomas Bach presented the Pope with the Olympic Order in Gold, telling him: “You truly understand the joy in human spirit that sport can bring but just as much the deeper values that it can nurture.”

Sepp Blatter gave Pope Francis a special Latin edition of the FIFA magazine.

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Joao Havelange, former FIFA president, was paid huge sums in bribes by collapsed marketing company ISL, court documents have revealed.

Joao Havelange received at least 1.5 million Swiss francs and executive committee member Ricardo Teixeira at least 12.74 million SFr.

The Swiss prosecutor’s report, published by FIFA, reveals the pair may have received up to 21.9 million SFr.

They are the only two FIFA officials named in the report.

Switzerland’s supreme court ordered the release of the documents identifying which senior officials took millions of dollars in payments from ISL, FIFA’s marketing partner until it collapsed into bankruptcy in 2001.

Joao Havelange, former FIFA president, was paid huge sums in bribes by collapsed marketing company ISL

Joao Havelange, former FIFA president, was paid huge sums in bribes by collapsed marketing company ISL

The papers were released to five media organisations and detail the court settlement which closed a criminal probe of the ISL case in May 2010.

In November 2010, it was alleged that three senior FIFA officials, including Ricardo Teixeira, took bribes from Swiss-based ISL in the 1990s, though commercial bribery was not a crime in Switzerland at the time.

The documents concerning Joao Havelange also revealed that officials repaid 5.5 million Swiss francs to end the prosecution office’s investigation on condition their identities remain secret.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter said in October 2011 that he wanted to release the ISL dossier, despite his organisation seeking to deny access to its contents at the same time.

“FIFA is pleased that the ISL non-prosecution order can now be made public,” FIFA said in a statement.

Joao Havelange, now 96, was FIFA president for 24 years before being succeeded by Sepp Blatter in 1998. The Brazilian, who remains FIFA’s honorary president, has been treated extensively in a Rio de Janeiro hospital this year for septic arthritis.

Joao Havelange resigned his 48-year International Olympic Committee membership, citing health reasons, in December, days before the Olympic body was due to sanction him following its own investigation into wrongdoing connected to ISL.

Ricardo Teixeira, Joao Havelange’s former son-in-law, this year resigned as head of Brazil’s football federation and the 2014 World Cup organising committee, and gave up his FIFA executive committee seat, citing unspecified health and personal reasons.