Fifa president Sepp Blatter 'to be questioned' by Swiss authorities in World Cup corruption probe

The newly re-elected Fifa chief will be quizzed as a 'person providing information'

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The Independent Online

The Fifa president Sepp Blatter will be questioned by Swiss prosecutors investigating the votes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, it has been reported.

The Swiss Attorney General’s office, which is carrying out a criminal probe into how the tournaments were awarded to Russia and Qatar respectively, has said it will interview 10 serving Fifa officials who were involved in the process.

Andre Marty, a spokesman for the Swiss authorities, declined to identify the 10 officials involved, but according to the Sunday Times they include the Uefa president Michel Platini, the Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko and Mr Blatter himself.

Prosecutors have already begun questioning the 10 as “persons providing information” – a status somewhere between witness and suspect in Switzerland – as they investigate alleged “criminal mismanagement” and money laundering during the contest to decide the World Cup host nations.

According to the Sunday Times’  Insight team, which has reported on alleged corruption within Fifa for some years, Mr Blatter and Mr Platini will be among the last of the 10 to be questioned since they will remain based in Zurich after Fifa’s annual congress has disbanded.

Meanwhile, speaking at Wembley on Saturday in his role as president of the English FA, Prince William called on Fifa to “reform” and backed FA vice-chairman David Gill’s decision to immediately stand down from Fifa’s executive committee in protest against Mr Blatter’s re-election.

“Fifa must now show that it can represent the interests of fair play and put the sport first,” he said. “Those backing Fifa, such as sponsors and the regional confederations, must do their bit to press these reforms – we are doing football and its fans no favours if we do not.”

On Sunday morning, the FA chairman Greg Dyke told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that he would “work with other footballing nations and sponsors to put pressure [on Mr Blatter].

“I don’t think Blatter will last four years,” Mr Dyke said. “I think the events of last week were, as the [US] Attorney General said, the beginning, not the end.”

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On Friday Mr Blatter was re-elected for a fifth term (Getty)

Mr Dyke said the investigation by the Swiss authorities was “not something they normally do” and “very interesting”, and said that probe could see “the whole Qatar World Cup come under question again”.

Mr Blatter, who has not been accused of any wrongdoing by the US or Swiss authorities, was asked after his re-election if he was concerned that he might be arrested in a possible second round of indictments. He said: “Arrested for what? Next question.”

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