Blatter accuses US authorities and British press of campaign to topple him

Re-elected Fifa president claims timing of arrests of officials had been motivated by revenge

By Owen Gibson in Zurich
Saturday 30 May 2015 – theguardian.com

FIFANewly re-elected Fifa president Sepp Blatter has launched an astonishing attack on the US justice system and the British media in the wake of the string of bribery charges against senior officials that plunged world football into chaos last week.

As he denied being the unnamed high-ranking official who authorised the payment of a $10m bribe to disgraced former Fifa vice-president Jack Warner, as alleged in last week’s US indictment, Blatter targeted his enemies and warned: “I forgive but I don’t forget.”

Emboldened after being re-elected for a fifth term in office, he turned on his accusers and claimed that the timing of the raid by the Swiss police, who have been cooperating with a long-running FBI investigation, was designed to remove him from office and motivated by revenge.

Swiss police swooped on the Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich on Wednesday and arrested seven senior Fifa executives, including vice-presidents Jeffrey Webb and Eugenio Figueredo, prompting a renewed wave of furious calls for reform and for Blatter’s resignation.

US federal investigators have said that last week’s arrests and indictment was only the beginning of their investigation and Richard Weber, head of the Internal Revenue Service, said further arrests were likely.

“I’m fairly confident that we will have another round of indictments,” he told the New York Times. “We strongly believe there are other people and entities involved in criminal acts.”

The 79-year-old Blatter said that the US arrests and charges – which accused a total of 18 executives of 47 counts of money laundering, racketeering and tax evasion linked to kickbacks totalling more than $150m over two generations – were timed to damage his chances of re-election.

“No one is going to tell me that it was a simple coincidence, this American attack two days before the elections of Fifa. It doesn’t smell right. This has touched me and Fifa,” said Blatter.

“There are signs that cannot be ignored. The Americans were the candidates for the World Cup of 2022 and they lost. The English were the candidates for 2018 and they lost, so it was really the English media and the American movement.”

His attack on the US authorities and the British media, which also extended to what he called a hate campaign by European football governing body Uefa, had echoes of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s claim that the arrests were an attempt to undermine Blatter and destabilise the 2018 World Cup.

On Saturday, a Kremlin spokesman offered congratulations on Blatter’s re-election, which will take his tenure to 21 years if he serves a full four-year term. “Putin expressed certainty that Blatter’s experience, professionalism and high level of authority will further allow him to spread the geographical reach and popularity of football,” he said.

As the Fifa executive committee met for the first time since Blatter’s victory over his challenger, the Jordanian Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein, Blatter said he believed the arrests and subsequent media coverage were a co-ordinated attempt to “denigrate” him and force him out.

“If they have a financial crime that regards American citizens, then they must arrest these people there and not in Zurich when we have a congress in Zurich. The United States, it is the main sponsor of the Hashemite kingdom [Jordan],” he railed. “This corruption affair is between North America and South America. It was taken to Zurich and they say it is Fifa.”

US authorities said that the raid was timed to precede the Fifa congress because that was when all of those targeted were in Zurich.

At a combative press conference, Blatter said he was unafraid of arrest and attempted to argue that Fifa had done its best to root out corruption. Blatter, who joined Fifa in 1975 when it had just 12 employees, stuck to his claim that the problem was with rogue individuals rather than the organisation’s culture.

Since his election as president in 1998, itself marred by bribery claims, there have been allegations of corruption surrounding almost every major decision made since.

Last week’s indictment by the US authorities covered claims of bribery in selecting the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and the 2011 presidential election, while Swiss authorities simultaneously seized documents and bank details concerning the controversial bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Yet Blatter insisted that he had tried to root out corruption through Fifa’s network of disciplinary and ethics committees: “We tried always in my tenure of office to eliminate all these elements or individuals.”

But he admitted to concern over unrest from World Cup sponsors that bankroll Fifa to the tune of $400m a year, and said meetings were planned with Visa, which has threatened to withdraw if there is no meaningful reform.

Blatter stuck to a familiar script, arguing that he was the best man to repair Fifa’s battered reputation. “We will make strides forward to take our boat back into calmer waters and finally take the Fifa ship into a situation of tranquillity and happiness, with a strong Fifa and a beautiful Fifa,” he said.

He was challenged over the $10m payment allegedly routed from a Fifa account in Switzerland to a Bank of America account in New York controlled by Warner. “This is a problem I do not enter. We will not go further. The only thing I can say is I have no $10m,” he said, adding that he had no fear of arrest.

“The Americans are making investigations: they have right to do so, I have no concerns; I especially have no concerns about my person.”

Uefa executives, who opposed Blatter’s re-election and backed Prince Ali, will meet in Berlin this week before the Champions League final to decide their next move.

FA chairman Greg Dyke has said that England could back a World Cup boycott if it was part of a coordinated action, while former Manchester United chief executive David Gill refused to take up his position as a Fifa vice-president in protest at Blatter’s re-election.

Blatter criticised Gill’s decision and also turned on Uefa president Michel Platini, who had led calls for his former mentor to step down.

“The journalists made a deal: Blatter out. It is a hatred not only by one person at Uefa but by the organisation of Uefa that has not accepted that I have been president since 1998. I forgive everyone but I don’t forget,” he said.

Source: www.theguardian.com/football/2015/may/30/sepp-blatter-accuses-us-and-british-media-campaign-topple

17 Responses to “Blatter accuses US authorities and British press of campaign to topple him”


  • Jerry C. Hussain

    Every business system in the Capitalist World has corruption, crime, scams, failed systems etc. If one were to scrub all the WHITE collar crime activities from all of these systems there will be chaos. Notwithstanding the fact that these systems purge themselves over time, we see positive changes over time. But America feels they can do things any which way they feel without ANY MORAL, ETHICAL, other regards to other cultures of the world. They of all people go into the third world and destroy as they take wholesale and bullshit the entire world with endless excuses. Cuba and Venezuela in our region of the world stood up to them and one can see the hell they got throughout the years. They destroyed life in Haiti. They ravaged our country and to a lesser extent the rest of the Caribbean. WE ALL REMEMBER THE JIM JONES INCIDENT. They just do not give a damn and England, France, Germany etc. just sucks up to them. So whose is Blatter?
    But one day it will change. One day their arrogance will be no more. One day the rest of the world will spit on these Yankee people.

  • How FIFA’s Leader Has Clung to Power Despite Corruption Scandal
    There aren’t many venues in global politics these days where developing nations, especially from Africa, can overrule their wealthy European peers. But FIFA is surely one of them. Such are the rules of the mammoth bureaucracy that governs the game of soccer—in its decisions, one country gets one vote, regardless how big or powerful—that even the worst scandal in its history could not dislodge the technocrat who enjoys the support of the developing world.

    “You have to understand the structure of FIFA,” said Forest, the investigative journalist. “In one sense it’s a beautiful and pure democracy. A small country like Togo has the same voting power as a country like Germany. But it’s also FIFA’s fundamental weakness.” In practice, it seems to encourage FIFA’s leadership to court the favor of the smallest federations, because they know that with their support, a FIFA President is effectively immune to internal demands for change.

  • When Blatter says that he’s unafraid, I believe he means fearless when he as an individual takes on the might of the US and Europe. As far I’m concerned he like Warner are innocent unless proven otherwise in a court of Law. Now, Warner has to answer to the law because he’s indicted not so with Blatter. Is it possible that Blatter can be subpoenaed to answer questions on behalf of the prosecution and be cross examined by the defendants counsel? The interesting thing here is when Warner resigned from FIFA, that organization did an investigation and reported that the investigation is completed and Warner being an ex-executive of FIFA cannot be charged because of his resignation. Who authorized the US and Swiss authorities to pursue further investigations? Now, on the local front we know he’s (Warner) angry but he should not blame Kamla and the PP for getting him arrested. At the same time the UNC should desist of putting him down further through chastisement via the media. If cool heads can prevail it would be interesting to see how this plays out in the international court and the politics involved. https://outlook.live.com/owa/#path=/mail

    • The plethora of corrupt FIFA officials from the Third world foreshadows the future of the UN if that institution is suddenly made more “democratic”.

      • Again you have it so WRONG. TMan you must be the dunseeiest man in the planet. The UN weaknesses created FIFA just like America created ISIS. Think nah!

  • Blatter is doing what all CEO does, protecting the brand. Unfortunately for him there is a ground swell of evidence pointing to FIFA being the most corrupt organization on the planet. And the noose is tightening in..

    • You get it wrong again. Daddy never taught you to read eh. The most corrupt place is North America. Read about the Truth and Conciliation Report in Canada. Read about what is happening in Baltimore and NY. I give you the the most pressing ones but there is plenty more. The jury is still out on FIFA and Blatter and JAW, they all are innocent and until proven guilty. But you know what the BLACK OPS says no and so the President becomes Judge, Jury and Executioner. Mamoo, you know trained Bin as a young man. I am sure your US AG friend can tell you that. Thay all feel they are above any law in the the world. America also thinks the entire Muslim faith are fundamentalists because they oppose capitalism. And yes there are hackers all over America starting with the CIA and FBI. You recall they hacked into the IRS recently. Moomoo read between the lines nah! Be a patriot of T&T.

      • Moomoo they killed millions of Iraqi and Afgans and destroyed the two countries for centuries to come.

  • Not unlike most organizations, political parties and companies, FIFA is corrupt.

    But FIFA’s election is more democratic than that of the United States of America with its Electoral College and the United Nations with its Security Council’s veto power, both of which claim to be the bastions of democracy.

    With FIFA’s presidential elections, small nations have the same voting rights as large nations. Because there are many small nations, their wants cannot be totally ignored if one is to maintain presidency. This is a good thing.

    The U.S. and U.K. seem not to have a problem with the undemocratic United Nations. I rather suspect this is how they would like FIFA to be structured for their total control.

    “The United Nations Security Council “power of veto” refers to the veto power wielded solely by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, and United States), enabling them to prevent the adoption of any “substantive” resolution, as well as decide which issues fall under “substantive” title. This de-facto control over the UN Security Council by the five governments is seen by critics, since its creation in 1945, as the most undemocratic character of the UN.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Security_Council_veto_power

    • Yes you are right and we and other nations are collateral damage so they feel FIFA is now dispensable except Russia who hosts the next world cup. But we will see how the BIG GAME plays out. USA and UK cannot host a world cup as their football is just plain boo. If America was to investigate something let them ask Sancho how UK robbed them in 2006. The referee in that game was paid off in millions.

  • Now Sepp Blatter ‘to face Swiss prosecutors’ over FIFA votes into 2018 and 2022 World Cups set for Russia and Qatar
    South Africa admits it paid $10m to shamed FIFA boss ahead of World Cup bid

    FIFA Scandal: Alleged Payments Suggest Link to Top Officials
    Ten million dollars in transfer payments were sent from FIFA bank accounts in Switzerland to a Caribbean soccer organization in 2008 and used to pay bribes to secure votes for South Africa’s bid to host the World Cup in 2010, the Department of Justice’s indictment alleges, in what could emerge as the most direct connection between the Zurich-based organization’s executive offices and the corruption probe shaking the world’s most popular sport.
    The size of the transfers, allegedly sent in three installments, meant they needed signed approval from within a small group of executives who work at FIFA’s highest levels, former and current FIFA officials say. That raises questions about the approvals and whether the executives who signed off knew their purpose.
    FIFA has declined to comment on any specific allegations made in the U.S. Justice Department’s indictment of 14 officials and executives of soccer confederations, released this week.

    How FIFA were nailed by last act of revenge of a dying man: Investigative journalist ANDREW JENNINGS reveals how former official led him and the Feds into the dirty depths of Blatter’s kingdom of corruption
    For the past two decades, Andrew Jennings has been exposing corruption within football’s world governing body Fifa, run by overlord Sepp Blatter. In 2006 he presented the BBC Panorama investigation The Beautiful Bung: Corruption and the World Cup.

  • Assuming Jennings’s report is accurate then Warner does not have a leg to stand on i.e., receiving the bribe (gift) from South Africa. Peddling tickets on the black market is heinous to state the least. Now, I believe it is just a matter of time before Blatter is indicted.

    • Jerry C. Hussain

      Bourse, Scalpers are part of the Capitalist system. Poor people in Brazil could not go to see any match there during the last FIFA World Cup for this reason. JAW was not part of that. This is a FIFA and a world business thing for many years now. In T&T around the Carnival Shows we cannot go unless we pay the Scalpers plenty more for the same ticket. Government people always get their cut or freeness. Can you arrest a Scalper? Most Capitalist business activity has this in it….they buy whole sale at one price, add on what they feel they want or can get off you and sell you at a much higher retail price. Scalpers could argue we put out our money for the whole sale product and retail it to you as well. I bought a Town House in 1980 for $100,000 and in 2015 the same Town House was sold for $2.4 Million ( the same house is 35 years older with no additions to it ). This is what you should be alarmed at. This is Capitalism. Now in Germany protesters there are demonstrating against the G7s who are setting world pricing there. My pension today is being taxed more than twice before it reaches my pocket. This is Capitalism. Governments are scalpers as well. Governments in T&T for many years kept my salary down for years for fear of inflation (ask the unions) but real estate for us was allowed to run away in price as foreigners made a mint over the years off our blood, sweat and tears and I do not have to tell which countries made trillions from us. Can you buy Trinidad Cedar? Accommodation is needed everywhere in the world just as water and food. Read between the lines and not what they are trying to sell you. They closed their country to every right you can fight for there but they feel they can walk into your country anytime and sully, arrest or trample your people or your laws. We forget that JAW is an MP here elected by the people and there is Sovereignty of State by the same G7s; no Sovereignty of state for us. Can america go into China with US Marshalls to handcuff anybody there without due process?

  • What was Mrs Persad-Bissessar thinking when she allowed him to become chairman of the United National Congress (UNC) Alliance? Was it the fact that Mr Warner is an Afro-Trinidadian and could racially balance the Indo-Trinidadian UNC party?

    Further, it begs the question what was the prime minister thinking when she appointed Mr Warner minister of works and transport in 2010? He continued in the post even after he had to resign from his top positions in FIFA and CONCACAF in 2011 under a barrage of accusations of fraud and misconduct.

    What was she thinking when she appointed him minister of national security in 2012? As national security minister, Mr Warner could potentially have had access to the files that the police had on him and be privy to the co-operation between the law enforcement bodies of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago as they cooperated with US authorities in the FIFA investigations.

    Was Mr Warner a financial contributor to the campaign of 2010 that brought the UNC to power? The prime minister denied that she received any money from him to fund either her own or the UNC election campaigns.

    http://m.jamaicaobserver.com/editorial/What-was-Prime-Minister-Persad-Bissessar-thinking_19047615

  • FIFA in fresh turmoil as explosive letter blows apart claims that Sepp Blatter’s No 2 Jerome Valcke did NOT know about $10m payment at centre of FBI probe

    FIFA was plunged into fresh turmoil today after an explosive letter appeared to contradict its claims that Sepp Blatter’s right-hand man was not involved in the payment of an alleged $10million bribe.

    The payment is at the heart of an FBI probe which claims the money was given to disgraced former vice-president Jack Warner and his deputy Chuck Blazer in return for them voting for the 2010 World Cup to be played in South Africa.

    Secretary general Jerome Valcke was last night suspected of signing off the payment, but FIFA issued a statement this morning robustly denying he had any involvement.

    They insisted it was instead authorised by Julio Grondona, the former finance chief and Blatter’s long-time ally who died last year.

    However, just an hour later, a letter from the South African Football Association emerged that appeared to blow apart those claims.

  • THE USA MUST ALSO INVESTIGATE THE CRIMES THEY DID TO OUR BELOVED TINY COUNTRY SINCE THE 1950s. THE TRILLIONS THEIR OIL COMPANIES TOOK FROM US OVER THE YEARS AND LAUNDERED RIGHT UNDER THEIR NOSES IN THE USA. I STILL REMEMBER TESORO AND THE BLONDE AFFAIR WHEN THEY SULLIED THE NAME OF OUR BELOVED PRIME MINISTER TO THE WORLD. THEY NEVER HAD ANY RESPECT FOR US … YES NONE CAME FROM THEM AND THEIR DIRTY FILTHY LEADERS OVER THE YEARS. LETS NOT FORGET WHAT THEY DID WHEN FIDEL STOOD UP TO THEM. DO NOT FORGET CUBA WAS VERY CATHOLIC AND THE USA WANTED CUBA TO BE THEIR PROSTITUTE HAVEN HERE IN THE CARIBBEAN JUST LIKE HAITI. GOD ALWAYS PROTECT YOU FROM EVIL. THE POVERTY THEY PUT ALL OF US IN AS THEIR DIVIDE AND RULE POLICIES WERE ENTRENCHED HERE. JAW SHOWS ONLY SOME OF THE POVERTY. WE MUST NOT FORGET THE DRUG TRADE THEY ESTABLISHED HERE AND FOSTERED OVER THE YEARS. I LISTENED TO MRS CLINTON TODAY ON TELEVISION AND MY THOUGHTS WERE YES THE 1% of the 1% OF FILTHY RICH THERE MADE MOST OF IT FROM COUNTRIES LIKE MINE LIKE PETER GRACE AND THE IFC BANK OF USA TO NAME ONLY TWO OF MANY. AND THEY HAVE THE BOLDFACENESS TO INVESTIGATE OUR BANKS WHEN THERE ARE MUCH BIGGER CRIMINAL FISH IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY. YES THE UN CONTINUES TO KEEP THEIR MOUTHS SHUT ON THE BIG MANHANDLING THE SMALL – USA IS TOO BIG FOR YOU TO GO AFTER. I REFER TO THE FOLLOWING….

    Warner: Still loyal about FIFA
    Published on Jun 13, 2015, 10:24 pm AST
    By Sue Ann Wayow
    1 CommentsArticle
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    MUM ON BLATTER: Sepp Blatter

    MAKING TIME FOR SUPPORTER: Juliana Jules of Bangladesh, St Joseph is hugged by Independent Liberal Party (ILP) political leader Jack Warner after he observed her hanging out ILP T-shirts to dry outside her home during his walkabout on Farm Road, St Joseph yesterday. –Photo: CURTIS CHASE

    EMBATTLED former vice president of FIFA Jack Warner, who has threatened to unleash an avalanche of revelations concerning scandals in the world governing body for football and his former boss Sepp Blatter, said yesterday he remained a loyal person.

    “I worked with Blatter for 30 years. I have a thing called loyalty under any conditions, under any kind of tribulations, whatever of course I may suffer. I know loyalty and therefore when a fella is down or seem to be down, I won’t push him down,” Warner told the local and foreign media who accompanied him on a tour of the Marabella train line.

    However, Warner promised to release a book in six months entitled: The Political Life of Jack Warner.

    “It’s going to be a best-seller,” Warner said.

    The political leader of the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) said the main purpose of the tour was to show Trinidad and Tobago’s poverty to the world.

    At the beginning of the tour Warner told reporters: “I am not going to say anything about football.”

    However, at the end, he was pressed to answer questions concerning FIFA by German journalist Tim Rohn.

    Rohn asked him if he had anything to say concerning Blatter who announced he will step down as FIFA president mere days after his re-election, and a week after the arrests of nine FIFA officials, including Warner, on charges including fraud and money laundering.

    He said: “If he is down, I give him a helping hand but there are people in this country and outside who like to demonise people. I am not like that and therefore don’t expect me to tell you anything about Blatter or FIFA. I am not like that.”

    Last week, it was reported in international media that Warner said he knew why Blatter stepped down and said he had documents containing key information about FIFA officials, including Blatter.

    Warner also told reporters he would not believe anything United National Congress (UNC) deputy leader Dr Roodal Moonilal said and nothing any politician did surprised him anymore.

    On Friday night, hours after Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar announced that the general election will be held on September 7, Moonilal said it was rumoured that Warner would be contesting the Chaguanas East seat for the PNM in the 2015.

    Also it was published in Warner’s Sunshine newspaper that Attorney General Garvin Nicholas received a cheque from Warner for the election campaign in 2002 when Nicholas contested the Diego Martin East seat under a UNC ticket.

    Nicholas was quoted as saying he could not remember any cheque.

    When asked about it, Warner said: “I will send copies for him on Monday to jog his memory.”

    And Warner said money from the Chaguanas West constituency fund was used to help people in Marabella living along the train line.

    He said: “My main concern is how an oil-rich country treats its people and same people you had down in Sea Lots is basically the same people that you have out here. The foreign media are here and I want them to make sure that the world could see this country as oil-rich and how people are being discriminated against.”

    On Friday, Warner visited Sea Lots, Port of Spain with a similar intention.

    The former minister of national security said if he had time, he would have taken the media to see Persad-Bissessar’s house in Phillipine and other ministers’ houses to observe the contrast in homes.

    He said: “What I want to do is to show members of ILP what we have to do, the kind of things we have to do after September 7 and therefore this is also a wake-up call for the membership of the party as well.”

    While visiting residents, many affectionately called out to “Uncle Jack” wishing him God’s blessings, inviting him to their homes, thanking him for the visit and asking for help.

    Resident Nicholas Jones told Warner: “I don’t care what they say about you on the outside but you come home and you support home 100 per cent and you put Trinidad and Tobago on the map.”

    Warner, who campaigned alongside Member of Parliament for San Fernando West Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan during the last general election, said although he could not say exactly how much money was spent to assist residents, he repaired homes, paid for material to build about five or six houses, fixed the basketball court and organised jobs for some.

    He said he could not have done as much as he wanted because he was not the MP and promises made to residents by Seepersad-Bachan were not fulfilled.

    The ILP leader is confident of victory in the general election and told residents September 8 will be a day of victory for them.

    He said the ILP will announce its slate of candidates the day after the UNC announces its own slate.

  • Here is the continued plundering by England. DO NOT FORGET IT ALL STARTED WITH EL DORADO. They took and took and are still taking in so many ways. I ask myself ….why do we have a Commonwealth? Is it to dole out to the Queen of England. England gave us nothing but heartache from Eric Williams to now. Take a read….
    Peter Crouch is probably the most hated Englishman in our history’

    By Rob Stevens
    BBC Sport
    “I think Peter Crouch is probably the most hated Englishman in the history of Trinidad and Tobago because of that goal.”
    Nine years on, Brent Sancho can look back on the moment that sent both players into the footballing history of two small Caribbean islands with a bit of pride and dry humour.
    There were eight minutes left of the goalless group match between England and Trinidad and Tobago at the 2006 World Cup in Germany when Crouch, then a Liverpool striker, used the defender’s dreadlocks to help lever himself up to head home a trademark David Beckham cross.
    Despite the clear infringement the goal stood.
    “It is folklore here in Trinidad. It is one of those things that anywhere I go, people will always remind me,” Sancho told BBC Radio Kent.
    “Everyone has their spin on it – where they were when it happened and their dislike for him.”

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