Blatter urged to explain bribe scandal
ZURICH/LONDON - Reuters
Sepp Blatter has succeeded Joao Havelange as the FIFA President. European politicians urge Blatter to take action against the bribery scandal involving Havelange.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter has questions to answer over a bribery scandal that has further damaged the image of world football’s governing body, a group of European politicians said on July 13.
A Swiss prosecutor said in a legal document released this week that former FIFA President Joao Havelange and former executive committee member Ricardo Teixeira took multi-million bribes on World Cup deals in the 1990s.
Blatter, who has been with FIFA since 1975, and succeeded Havelange as president in 1998, said on July 12 he knew that payments were being made. He referred to them as “commission” and said they were not illegal at the time.
Politicians from the parliamentary arm of the 47-nation Council of Europe condemned FIFA for trying to hush up the affair.
“If FIFA managers - including its current President - were aware of these bribes, they should have been doing everything in their power to prosecute, rather than protect, the officials concerned,” French politician Francois Rochebloine said.
He urged Blatter to come clean on his role in a scandal that occurred when he was the General Secretary.
“When did he become aware of these payments? Why did FIFA hide wrongdoing and fail to take action against its perpetrators? Above all, what steps will he take to stop this happening again?,” he added.