Blatter being probed by US on corruption scandal

FIFA President Sepp Blatter
FIFA President Sepp Blatter

Sepp Blatter, who has announced his resignation as FIFA president, is being investigated by American authorities in the corruption scandal tainting football’s world governing body, media outlets said.

“Now that people are going to want to save themselves, there’s probably a race to see who will flip on (Blatter) first,” a source familiar with the case said, reports Efe.

Along the same lines, the New York Times, also citing unnamed official sources, in its online edition on Tuesday reported that Blatter is being focused on by American authorities in the corruption investigation.

The daily said that in their efforts to build a case against Blatter, who is Swiss, American authorities are hoping to get the cooperation of some of the FIFA officials who were formally accused last week.

Blatter was re-elected president of the organisation last Friday, two days after the arrests of seven top FIFA officials in Switzerland at the request of America, who asked for their extradition to face corruption charges.

The 79-year-old Blatter said on Tuesday that he will continue as FIFA chief until a new president can be elected, presumably in late 2015 or early 2016.

Jordanian Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, 39, whom Blatter defeated last week in the FIFA president election, told CNN on Tuesday after learning of the football chief’s resignation that, “I am at the disposal of all the national associations who want a change, including all of those who were afraid to make a change.”

Former footballer Luis Figo, who a week before the latest election withdrew his candidacy in hopes of boosting Al-Hussein’s chances of unseating Blatter, said that Tuesday was “a good day for FIFA and for football.”

The former Portuguese international, who did not confirm if he would again try to attain the presidency, called for a “new era of dynamism, transparency and democracy in FIFA.”

UEFA, the European football organisation, and several of its member associations hailed Blatter’s resignation.

Support was also expressed for the current UEFA chief, former French international Michel Platini, to succeed Blatter.