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FIFA's number two starts defamation writ

Zen-Ruffinen (left) has taken legal action against claims he is lobbying against the presidential candidacy of Blatter (right) Keystone

FIFA's general secretary Michel Zen-Ruffinen has started a defamation action against the North, Central American and Caribbean soccer federation (CONCACAF).

This content was published on April 19, 2002 - 08:32

FIFA said that Zen-Ruffinen had instructed a New York law firm to launch proceedings against CONCACAF because the federation had not withdrawn allegations against him, according to news agencies.

On April 8, FIFA vice president and CONCACAF boss Jack Warner called on Zen-Ruffinen to resign, accusing him of soliciting support for Cameroon's Issa Hayatou's bid to win the FIFA presidency later this month.

Hayatou is bidding to oust the current FIFA president, Switzerland's Sepp Blatter, who is running for re-election.

Financial issues

In an interview with the Geneva-based French-language newspaper Le Temps, Zen-Ruffinen said calls for his resignation by "Blatter loyalists" were designed to stop him testifying at a sensitive internal inquiry.

"I think these manoeuvres are an attempt to stop me from giving evidence because I could reveal delicate information," Zen-Ruffinen told the newspaper.

"For several months now I have noticed that the financial system at the heart of FIFA is dysfunctional," he said.

Blatter, who became FIFA president in 1998, has been forced into accepting an internal investigation into financial mismanagement.

He says he has been targeted as part of a dirty presidential campaign.

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