Blatter faces legal action for misuse of FIFA funds

Blatter says he is "unperturbed" by the possible investigation Keystone

Embattled FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, has been hit with legal proceedings, launched by eleven of his body's 24-member executive committee.

This content was published on May 10, 2002 - 20:04

Zurich's chief prosecutor, Hansruedi Mueller, confirmed that he had received a formal complaint against Blatter, accusing the Swiss soccer head of misusing the organisation's funds.

Mueller said he would decide on Monday on how to handle the procedure, adding that it would take a long time.

"I received the formal complaint from eleven members of the FIFA executive board, and it is concerning improper business conduct and misuse of funds," Mueller told news agencies.

Blatter hits back

Blatter, who is bidding for re-election at a FIFA vote this month, branded the legal action as part of a "smear campaign" that was doing "immeasurable damage to football's image".

In recent weeks, Blatter has faced a growing list of accusations over his financial dealings at FIFA.

Michel Zen-Ruffinen, the FIFA general secretary, earlier this month accused Blatter of corruption during his four-year reign as president. Zen-Ruffinen called for a criminal investigation.

Blatter said that he remained "unperturbed" by the prospect of a possible investigation.

"It saddens me that my political opponents in the struggle for the FIFA presidency do not recoil from the thought of a further escalation of events," Blatter said in a statement released on Friday.

"I thank the majority of the executive committee who chose not to become embroiled in this affair," he said.

"I am preparing my written response, which will clarify both the matter at hand and my good name," he said.

Legal action "unavoidable"

A statement by five members of the legal action, David Will, Lennart Johansson (also UEFA president), Issa Hayatou, Dr Antonio Matarrese and Dr Mong-Joon Chung, was released on Friday.

In it they said they had no choice but to take legal action as a result of Zen-Ruffinen's allegations.

swissinfo with agencies

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