Blatter hints at new evidence to challenge 6-year FIFA ban
GENEVA (AP) — Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter claims to have “new facts” and wants to re-open the financial misconduct case that led to his six-year ban.
“As new facts have appeared it’s time to question the decision of the Fifa Ethics-Committee — my suspension of 6 years!” Blatter said Friday on his reactivated Twitter account.
Asked by The Associated Press for details of potential evidence, Blatter spokesman Thomas Renggli replied in a message: “We are working on it.”
Blatter is barred from soccer through October 2021 after the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld his ban for payments to one-time adviser Michel Platini. The case cost Platini the UEFA presidency, and stopped him from being a candidate to replace Blatter in the 2016 election.
The CAS judges said Blatter was “reckless” for paying Platini $2 million in uncontracted salary more than eight years after the former France great stopped being employed by FIFA.
Blatter also effectively added $1 million to Platini’s FIFA pension fund reserved for executive committee members by extending entitlement against the rules for the years he worked as an adviser.
Blatter tweeted the message to his 2.5 million followers from an account that was dormant since he was first suspended by the FIFA ethics committee in October 2015. It was revived this week. On Monday, he posted congratulations to Australian Open champion Roger Federer and then the cover of a new edition in Russian of his 2016 book, “Sepp Blatter: Mission and Passion Football.”
Russia is the only country where Blatter, who is Swiss, has made a public appearance — at the World Cup qualifying draw held in St. Petersburg in July 2015 — since federal prosecutors in the United States and Switzerland unsealed sweeping investigations of alleged corruption linked to FIFA earlier that year.
A Swiss criminal proceeding was opened against Blatter in September 2015 for alleged financial misconduct, but no charges have been made.
The 81-year-old Blatter has often said he will return to Russia for the World Cup to fulfil a long-standing invitation from President Vladimir Putin.
A second book is also expected to be published ahead of the World Cup. Blatter said last April it would document his 40 years with FIFA and 16 years as a member of the International Olympic Committee.