Fifa’s own investigators have recommended Sepp Blatter be suspended from the organisation, with a decision from its adjudicator due “within days.”
Klaus Stoehlker, a former advisor and friend of world football’s outgoing President, said Fifa’s internal investigations unit has told the President he has been provisionally suspended from the organisation.
The two chambers of Fifa’s independent Ethics Committee have been holding meetings to decide the fate of both Blatter and Uefa President Michel Platini, who is also a vice President of Fifa and a candidate in the forthcoming Presidential election.
The outgoing President faces accusations from Swiss police of signing a television rights contract “unfavourable” to the organisation with the disgraced former head of Caribbean football Jack Warner, who made millions of dollars in personal profit from the deal. He is also accused of making a £1.35m payment to Uefa President Michel Platini, which Swiss investigators have described as “disloyal” to Fifa.
Michel Platini, a legendary former player, remains a candidate in the forthcoming Fifa Presidential election, despite Swiss police currently considering him as “between a witness and a suspect” in their investigation into corruption at Fifa.
The recommendation to suspend Blatter has been made by Cornel Borbely, a Swiss lawyer who became head of Fifa’s Investigatory Chamber after the resignation of US lawyer Michael Garcia last December.
It will be up to its Adjudicatory Chamber to decide if it wishes to implement the recommendation.
Fifa’s Adjudicatory Chamber is headed by Hans Joachim Eckert, a German judge of high standing. It operates entirely independently of the President and Fifa’s Executive Committee and has the power to suspend anyone from the organisation while matters of impropriety are investigated.
It is regularly accused of not acting independently, and was at the heart of the controversy surrounding the notorious Garcia Report, by Fifa’s own investigator Michael Garcia, who resigned claiming Judge Eckert watered down his findings when his report was published in summary form.
If normal procedures are followed, Fifa’s most Senior Vice President, the Cameroonian Issa Hayatou will be installed as acting President. He has previously been the subject of allegations over ticketing and marketing rights scandals.
Sepp Blatter had declared he would carry on as Fifa President until February 26th, when an extraordinary election takes place, despite calls for his immediate resignation last week from four of Fifa’s top sponsors, Coca-Cola, Visa, McDonald’s and Budweiser.
Angel Maria Villa Llonar, the Spanish former footballer and anti-reform member of Fifa’s Executive Committee would take over at Uefa in Platini’s absence. Hayatou has previously been implicated in allegations over illegal World Cup ticketing sales. Villa Llonar’s son is a member of Fifa’s Reform Committee, but has been accused of extortion by eight South American football clubs.
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