Friday, 29 January 2016

Whistleblower Gives FIFA More Evidence

Swiss prosecutors say they have been given important evidence by a whistleblower in their investigation into Fifa and its suspended president, Sepp Blatter.

The Swiss attorney general’s spokesman, André Marty, said the case was making progress and formal charges could be brought by the end of the year.

Marty told the German broadcaster ARD: “A witness, a so-called whistleblower, gave us interesting information relevant to the case which brought us markedly forward in the criminal investigation.”

The Swiss attorney general, Michael Lauber, opened criminal proceedings against Blatter in September over suspected criminal mismanagement and misuse of Fifa money in two cases: a £1.3m payment made to the Uefa president, Michel Platini, in 2011, and selling undervalued World Cup TV rights to the disgraced former Fifa vice-president Jack Warner.

Blatter and Platini were banned for eight years last month by Fifa’s ethics committee over the payment.

The election contest to find Blatter’s successor is hotting up with a series of nominations being announced for Gianni Infantino, the Uefa general secretary, who is one of five candidates on 26 February.

Conmebol, the confederation which represents the 10 South American countries, has formally announced its support for Infantino, a Swiss-Italian lawyer.

The Central American Football Union (UNCAF), which represents seven small central American countries, has also announced its support for Infantino as have several Caribbean countries.

One of the outsiders for the role, South African politician and businessman Tokyo Sexwale, told Reuters that “the time for alliances is coming”. Sexwale, Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, the favourite, and Infantino are all attending the final of the Asian Football Championship between South Korea and Japan in Doha on Saturday, and Sexwale said the trio would discuss their options, with the South African likely to withdraw from the race.

That support should see Infantino could make a determined push against the favourite, Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, the president of Asian football who also has strong backing in Africa.

The other three candidates are Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan, the former French diplomat Jérôme Champagne and Tokyo Sexwale, a politician and businessman from South Africa.

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