Blatter fends off attack over budget figures

Blatter is coming under increasing pressure Keystone Archive

FIFA's embattled president, Sepp Blatter, has rejected claims that he underestimated the losses sustained by soccer's governing body following the collapse of its marketing partner ISMM/ISL.

This content was published on June 15, 2001 - 22:14

The denial came after an interview on German radio in which the chief executive of UEFA, Gerhard Aigner, cast doubt on the SFr100 million figure ($56 million) put forward by Blatter on Wednesday.

"The calculations up until now want to blur some things," said Aigner. "I think the figures are higher than announced so far."

In a further attack, UEFA's chief executive also suggested that FIFA did not have a firm grasp on its financial affairs. "One can also get into difficulties with a lot of money," he added. "Because of this one must run a tight ship, follow a budget plan, carefully manage one's finances and show good financial control. That has not been the case up until now."

Shortly after the interview, FIFA issued a statement responding to the claims in which it declared that both its finance committee and its executive committee, including seven European representatives, had approved the figures.

"If any questions remain unanswered, FIFA will not debate them in public, but during the next meeting of the FIFA Executive Committee, to be held in Buenos Aires on July 5, 2001," said the statement.

Friday's spat between soccer's top governing bodies comes just two days after Blatter faced an extraordinary general meeting of FIFA's executive committee in Zurich with his job on the line.

Blatter was presented with a list of 25 questions, drawn up by UEFA, relating to the controversial collapse on ISMM/ISL. After the meeting UEFA officials said Blatter had left several questions unanswered.

The issue will be discussed further at the July congress in Brazil when a vote of no confidence in FIFA's chief executive could yet be tabled. Blatter has been criticised for not moving fast enough to avert the ISMM/ISL disaster.

swissinfo with agencies

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