01 May 2020
Fifa is preparing to press the authorities in Switzerland to prosecute Sepp Blatter for alleged corruption, after the Swiss attorney general dropped part of its investigation despite police reports listing years of apparent gifts and payments provided to the then vice-president, Jack Warner, in return for votes for Blatter in Fifa presidential elections.
Senior Fifa officials are understood to be considering all options if the case against Blatter is discontinued, potentially including suing the attorney general’s office for failing to prosecute.
In two Swiss federal police reports seen by the Guardian, a conclusion is drawn that Warner wielded crucial votes to support Blatter and elect him Fifa president in 1998 and 2002 in return for “preferential treatment”, including TV contracts for the 2010 and 2014 World Cups.
From 1990 to 2011 Warner was president of Concacaf – the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football – which had more than 40 countries as members and whose votes, invariably wielded as a bloc, were crucial in presidential elections.
Blatter’s tenure as president of Fifa, from his successful 1998 election campaign to his fall in 2015, was marked throughout by corruption allegations, which he denied, but efforts to oppose him, mostly marshalled by the Scandinavian countries’ FAs, failed to garner sufficient votes.
One police report states Warner and Concacaf had “already been granted a financial advantage in May 1998” a month before Blatter, previously the Fifa general-secretary, was elected president for the first time. The other report contains details of a 2005 contract signed by Blatter, granting the TV rights for the 2010 and 2014 World Cups to the Caribbean Football Union, of which Warner was also president.
By David Conn and Philip Oltermann, The Guardian, 30 April 2020
Read more at The Guardian
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