Blatter criticised over bribery case

23 April 2012 07:47

FIFA president Sepp Blatter's handling of the ISL bribery case has been severely criticised by a Council of Europe (COE) report.

The COE published testimony given by Swiss prosecuting magistrate Thomas Hildbrand to the council about the ISL court case, in relation to backhanders paid by the now-defunct ISL marketing company to secure FIFA's World Cup television rights.

The testimony says backhanders worth at least 12.7million Swiss francs (£8.5million) were paid to one South American FIFA member, named as 'person H', and 1.5million Swiss francs (£1.1million) to another senior FIFA official, named as 'person E'.

BBC Panorama have previously said former Brazilian confederation chief Ricardo Teixeira is 'person H' and former FIFA president Joao Havelange is 'person E'.

The COE report by French national assembly member Francois Rochebloine is damning of Blatter's role - even given that the FIFA president was not directly involved.

The report states: "Mr Blatter was technical director of FIFA from 1975 to 1981, FIFA general secretary from 1981 to 1998 and has been its president ever since. Since FIFA was aware of significant sums paid to certain of its officials, it is difficult to imagine that Mr Blatter would not have known about this.

"That does not mean that he was directly involved in this case of backhanders. But I believe it is extraordinary that he did nothing to make public all the information which FIFA had or has, and took no steps whether internally or via the courts to enable FIFA to obtain reparation.

"As Mr Hildbrand clearly explained, FIFA was accused as an undertaking under Swiss law, but it was also a victim: the money paid under-the-counter to certain unscrupulous officials should have been paid to FIFA."

The testimony from Hildbrand, published for the first time, said the "commission payments" were made to ensure the FIFA officials influenced where TV contracts were awarded.

Source: PA