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Blatter is off the hook

Sepp Blatter can sleep easy again Keystone

Sepp Blatter, the Swiss head of football's governing body, FIFA, has breathed a sigh of relief following an announcement that there will be no investigation into allegations of bribery during his 1998 presidential campaign.

This content was published on March 9, 2002 - 21:40

However, there will be an internal audit of FIFA's 2001 balance sheet, which will also investigate the $300 million collapse of former marketing partners ISL/ISMM.

But for Blatter, it was good news with Saturday's press conference in Zurich putting an end to a week of speculation.

Last week, Farah Addo, the vice president of the African Football Confederation, accused Blatter of "buying presidential votes" during his 1998 presidential campaign. Addo claimed that he had been offered $100,000 to vote for Blatter.

Addo also said that officials from 25 other nations, including 18 from Africa, had accepted similar bribes.

Politically motivated

Blatter denies the allegations. He says they are politically motivated and are aimed at derailing his campaign to secure a second term in office.

Furthermore, the 66-year-old Swiss pointed out that Addo's recent accusations had been dealt with a long time ago.

"Allegations have been made in 1998, which have been the subject of inquiries and in court, and these have been settled and I am not going to give a platform to those who doubt the correctness of my election in 1998," he told reporters.

During the press conference Blatter said FIFA had nothing to hide financially and that the six-member audit committee would find no wrongdoing.

"I have nothing to hide. We have nothing to hide. We work with such transparency in FIFA," he said.

The committee, which Blatter says was his idea, will report its findings by April 30.

For the moment Blatter is the only candidate standing for the FIFA presidency although Issa Hayatou, head of the African football confederation, has said he might stand. Nominations for the presidency close on March 28.

swissinfo with agencies

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