By Ryan Mayer, CBS Local Sports
The soccer world has been waiting and wondering whether or not the investigations into top FIFA officials would reach the top and president Sepp Blatter. According to New York Times writer Sam Borden, they have, as Swiss authorities have opened a criminal case against the FIFA president Sepp Blatter on “suspicion of criminal mismanagement and appropriation”.
The main issue in the proceedings is a contract that Blatter allegedly signed, which assigned the World Cup television rights to former FIFA official Jack Warner, who is also under criminal investigation. The charges against the president are reportedly on the grounds that Blatter violated his fiduciary duties to FIFA by signing the contract that was unfavorable.
“The contract, obtained by the Swiss broadcaster SRF, which posted excerpts on its website, awarded the Caribbean Football Union rights to the 2010 and 2014 World Cups for a total $600,000. Mr. Warner in turn licensed those rights, which were reportedly sold for roughly 33 times that amount, or $20 million.”
There are further allegations against Blatter involving a payment made to UEFA president Michel Platini in the amount of 2 million Swiss francs. The proceedings made by Swiss authorities included an interrogation of the FIFA president among other things.
“Swiss prosecutors interrogated Mr. Blatter after an executive committee meeting in Zurich on Friday, and said they also searched his office and seized data.
Mr. Platini, another member of the executive committee and the leading candidate to replace Mr. Blatter as FIFA president, also was asked to provide information.”
These are the first charges made against Blatter and another major development in what has been a months long investigation into multiple high ranking FIFA officials by both US and Swiss authorities. The announcement of these criminal proceedings came just hours after the much disputed 2022 Qatar World Cup was confirmed to be played in November of that year.
Ryan Mayer is an Associate Producer for CBS Local Sports. Ryan lives in NY but comes from Philly and life as a Philly sports fan has made him cynical. Anywhere sports are being discussed, that’s where you’ll find him. Agree/Disagree? Thoughts, comments, complaints? Email or tweet him.