‘Sepp Blatter should face criminal inquiry’

Fifa president Sepp Blatter should face a criminal investigation for selling under-valued World Cup television rights to Jack Warner, the governing body’s former anti-corruption adviser said.

Mark Pieth, a Swiss professor of criminal law, said Blatter is a likely target in a Swiss federal investigation of “criminal mismanagement” at Fifa.

“Blatter has to defend himself against a form of embezzlement charges. That’s a topic they need to discuss,” Pieth said of an investigation being led by Switzerland’s attorney general.

Swiss broadcaster SRF published a Blatter-signed Fifa contract from 2005 that sold the Warner-controlled Caribbean Football Union rights to the 2010 and 2014 World Cups for a combined $600,000.

Warner, then a longstanding Fifa vice-president and Blatter supporter, licensed the rights to a company controlled by his family. They were then sold for a reported sum of about $20m to a Jamaica-based broadcaster.

The document appeared to confirm Warner’s claim in 2011, after he left Fifa when implicated in bribery, that Fifa let him control cheap World Cup rights in exchange for helping Blatter win presidential elections.

Warner was indicted in May in a US probe of soccer corruption implicating senior Fifa officials, though it is the separate Swiss case which could threaten Blatter directly.

“They have prima facie evidence. That means they have to open an investigation,” Pieth said on the sidelines of an international meeting of federal prosecutors attended by the attorney generals of the US and Switzerland.


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