Swiss AG investigates Fifa’s Blatter; Platini implicated

The controversial 2022 World Cup in Qatar will start on November 21 and finish on December 18, FIFA confirmed on Friday after their executive committee met in Zurich.

football Updated: Sep 26, 2015 01:56 IST
Fifa,Sepp Blatter,Michel Platini
Uefa president Michel Platini (R) and Fifa president Sepp Blatter seen in this file photo taken on May 29, 2015.(REUTERS)

Swiss prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into Sepp Blatter, the head of world soccer body Fifa, on suspicion of criminal mismanagement and misappropriation, the Swiss attorney general’s office said on Friday.

Blatter was interrogated after a meeting of Fifa’s executive committee in Zurich, and authorities carried out a search at Fifa headquarters on Friday.

“The office of the Fifa President has been searched and data seized,” the office of the attorney general (OAG) said in a statement.

US and Swiss authorities announced in May they were investigating corruption at the highest levels of the world’s most popular sport, including in the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 world cups to Russia and Qatar.

Fourteen soccer officials and sports marketing executives were indicted at that time, but until Friday authorities had not pointed the finger at Blatter, the 79-year-old Swiss who has run Fifa since 1998.

He has denied wrongdoing.

Blatter was questioned by the OAG’s representatives and Michel Platini, the former French soccer star who runs European soccer body Uefa, was also asked to give information, the statement said.

Platini is favourite to win the election to replace Blatter when he steps down in February.

The statement said that Blatter was suspected of a “disloyal payment” of 2 million Swiss francs ($2.05 million) to Platini at the expense of Fifa, allegedly made for work performed between January 1999 and June 2002.

The payment was executed in February 2011, the OAG said.

A spokeswoman for US prosecutors declined to comment.

Graphic showing the key players in the Fifa scandal. (AFP)

First Published: Sep 25, 2015 21:06 IST