FIFA loses court bid to revive probe of Blatter over media rights deal

Sepp Blatter (left) and his lawyer leave the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland last September. Keystone / Peter Schneider

A Swiss court has rejected world football body FIFA’s bid to revive a criminal probe against its former president, Sepp Blatter, over a 2005 deal with the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) to sell World Cup broadcasting rights.

This content was published on July 29, 2021 - 12:19

The Swiss Office of the Attorney General (OAG) last year dropped the investigation, one of two it was conducting against Blatter, 85, who was banned from the sport for years for ethics violations.

Zurich-based FIFA sought to reverse the OAG’s decision, but the Federal Criminal Court rejected its request in a verdict released on Thursday, which said the OAG had acted properly.

Blatter, who led FIFA for 17 years until 2015, was accused of selling television rights to the CFU for the 2010 and 2014 World Cups for $600,000 (CHF545,000), seen as far below the market value at the time.

In a second criminal case, Blatter is accused of having improperly arranged a payment of CHF2 million ($2.2 million) to Michel Platini, then president of European football’s governing body UEFA, in 2011.

Blatter and Platini have repeatedly maintained they did nothing wrong, amid what became part of the biggest corruption scandal to shake FIFA, one that resulted in numerous prosecutions and convictions in the United States.

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