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FIFA congress ends in jeers for Blatter

Blatter closed Tuesday's meeting before some national football associations had taken the floor

(Keystone)

FIFA boss, Sepp Blatter, has been jeered at a meeting in South Korea after he refused to allow a report into the state of FIFA's finances to be read out.

Blatter, who is standing for re-election as the president of football's world governing body, was jeered when he refused to allow David Will, the head of an internal audit committee suspended by Blatter, to present his report into the state of FIFA's finances.

Blatter was also accused of allowing only national football federations which support him to ask questions at the special congress, which was called to examine FIFA's finances ahead of the World Cup in Seoul, South Korea.

Michel Zen-Ruffinen, the FIFA general secretary, described Tuesday's congress meeting as "scandalous".

"Blatter took questions from [national football] associations solely on his own judgement," Zen-Ruffinen said.

Zen-Ruffinen was Blatter's right-hand man until he was gagged earlier this month after making allegations of financial mismanagement and corruption against the organisation's 66-year-old president.

Bad day for FIFA

Felix Reidhaar, a correspondent for Switzerland's "Neue Zürcher Zeitung" newspaper in Seoul, told swissinfo the congress represented "another bad day for FIFA".

"The atmosphere at the meeting was very bad," Reidhaar said, "especially at the end with all this whistling."

Reidhaar said congress delegates began to jeer the president only towards the end of the meeting, when he refused to allow Will to present his report.

Blatter went on to abruptly close the meeting before delegates from 15 national associations had been given the chance to take the floor.

Chances of re-election

Reidhaar believes Blatter's refusal to allow Will to take the stage at Tuesday's conference could have an impact on his chances of being re-elected as FIFA president on Wednesday.

"I think Blatter's attitude could be a disadvantage for him in the election," Reidhaar said. "His refusal to allow Will to speak was a very bad decision and it could influence the delegates from all the national associations."

Blatter, who is bidding for a second four-year term, denies allegations of financial misconduct, saying they are part of a smear campaign against him.

"Before the meeting, I had the feeling that Blatter would have no problem in his re-election, but now I am not quite sure," Reidhaar commented.

Blatter is standing for re-election against Cameroon's Issa Hayatou.

Politics vs football?

The 2002 football World Cup - jointly hosted by South Korea and Japan - is scheduled to kick off on Friday, which is when Reidhaar believes FIFA's internal politics will take a back seat.

"The main reason of football is the game," Reidhaar said.

"In the past couple of months, we have talked too much about politics in the football federation, and now we have to start speaking about the football."

swissinfo with agencies


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