Questions from Uefa increase pressure on Blatter

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The Independent Football

The position of Sepp Blatter, the most powerful man in football, looked increasingly unstable last night after he was asked to provide detailed answers to 25 questions about his conduct as the president of Fifa, the world game's governing body.

Lennart Johansson, the president of Uefa, Europe's governing body, has written to Blatter, saying he is "extremely concerned at the current situation relating to a number of Fifa commercial and other matters".

Johansson states: "Sadly, as a member of the Fifa executive committee and a Fifa vice-president, I believe that I, and other members, have for some time not been adequately informed about numerous strategic matters which have also been acted upon without proper discussion. This is a pattern which cannot continue and which must be addressed at the forthcoming meeting of the executive committee [tomorrow]".

Johansson has set out 25 questions he wants answered, several relating to the collapse of Fifa's former marketing partners, ISL/ISMM, which folded with debts of £200m. This year's Club World Championships in Spain was cancelled as a result of ISL's bankruptcy and Blatter has admitted that Fifa stands to lose up to £40m as a consequence. At the end of May, Fifa filed criminal charges against officials from ISMM, alleging millions of dollars in payments for World Cup broadcasting rights were embezzled.

One question Johansson asks in his letter is: "When were you first aware of the financial difficulties facing ISL/ISMM and what steps were taken at that time to inform the Fifa executive committee of the potential problems ahead?"

Another refers to allegations that Fifa monies ended up in secret bank accounts. "What steps are you taking to legally challenge claims made by the media against your character regarding secret ISL/ISMM bank accounts in Liechtenstein?"

Johansson asks Blatter: "Could you provide a detailed organisational chart of the Fifa administration, including a full list of presidential advisors, their roles and functions (job descriptions) and their cost, as well as the new staffing structure within Fifa Marketing AG and its reporting relationships to the Fifa administration?"

This final question, critics of Blatter say, is inviting the Fifa president to admit that his reign has been autocratic and unaccountable.

Blatter faces a possible Uefa-led vote of no confidence in his presidency at Fifa's congress, in Buenos Aires on 6 July, unless he provides answers soon.

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