Blatter labels US judiciary’s investigation ‘hate campaign’

FIFA President Sepp Blatter expresses shock at US judiciary’s investigation into FIFA

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Updated Jul 28, 2015

On Saturday, the newly re-elected president of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, said that US Department of Justice and US Attorney General Loretta Lynch went too far by conducting a federal investigation into corruption in football which he says has turned into a “hate” campaign against him and FIFA.

On Friday, FIFA was rocked by the US Department of Justice’s indictment of nine FIFA officials and five sports marketing executives on charges of including racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering.

"I was shocked by what she said, as a President I would never make a statement about another organisation without knowing,” Blatter said.

"Listen, with all the respect to the judicial system of the US with a new minister of justice," Blatter said, "the Americans, 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,” he added.

Sepp Blatter was recently re-elected as the president of FIFA for the fifth time in an election that was overshadowed by corruption allegations and the arrest of high-ranking FIFA officials.

Blatter’s victory came as his only rival Prince Ali bin al Hussein of Jordan withdrew from the election after the first round which ended with a voting tally of 133-73 in favour of Blatter.

The election came under intense scrutiny on Saturday after the FIFA executive committee met to discuss how many places each continent will get at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

"There are signs which cannot be mistaken: the Americans were candidates for the 2022 World Cup and they lost," he told Swiss television channel RTS.

"I am not certain, but it doesn't smell good."

Blatter also said that the US was the “number one sponsor” of Jordan, home country of his opponent for the presidency of FIFA, Prince Ali bin al Hussein.

Condemning comments made by senior members of the US judiciary including Attorney General Loretta Lynch about FIFA, Blatter expressed astonishment.

"Of course I am shocked," Blatter responded. "I would never as FIFA president make comments about another organisation without being certain of what has happened,” he added.

Fourteen people have been indicted by US authorities so far, including seven people arrested in Zurich on charges of receiving bribes worth around $150 million.

The investigation is expected to be extended and more indictments are expected to come, according to Richard Weber, head of the Internal Revenue Service criminal investigations unit.

"We strongly believe there are other people and entities involved in criminal acts," Weber told The New York Times.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated Blatter on his re-election as head of football's governing body, said the Kremlin on Saturday, despite a high-profile corruption scandal rocking the game.

"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," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, Russian news agencies reported.

TRTWorld and agencies