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Fifa backs down over book ban

The book makes grim reading for Fifa President Sepp Blatter Keystone

Fifa has withdrawn a request for an injunction banning the sale in Switzerland of a book detailing serious allegations of corruption at world football's governing body.

Zurich-based Fifa said on Thursday that it no longer opposed the publication and distribution of “Foul! The Secret World of Fifa: Bribes, Vote Rigging and Ticket Scandals”.

Fifa obtained a provisional injunction against the book in a Zurich court on April 26, based on what it said were advance notices from the publishers and other information. It argued that the book contained “a number of false and libellous claims”.

“Since then, Fifa has had the opportunity to analyse and evaluate the book from a legal point of view,” the organisation said in a statement on Thursday.

“Although the book does contain various defamatory passages and many inaccurate statements and aspersions, this toned down version of the book makes it unnecessary for Fifa to continue pursuing legal action.”

London-based publisher HarperCollins UK had vowed to challenge the court ruling, saying it had been advised by lawyers that it could overturn the injunction.

Worldwide sales

The book, written by British investigative journalist Andrew Jennings, recently went on sale worldwide.

It delves into the scandal surrounding the collapse of Fifa’s marketing partner, ISL/ISMM, which went bankrupt in 2001 with losses of more than $300 million (SFr364 million). Fifa president Sepp Blatter came under fire at the time for not moving quickly enough to avert the financial disaster.

Jennings, who has previously written a book on corruption within the Olympic movement, also makes allegations of vote-rigging during Fifa’s internal elections.

Blatter, who is Swiss, faced similar accusations in 2002 from 11 former members of his own executive committee in the run-up to his re-election for a second term as Fifa president.

In December the same year a Zurich court cleared Blatter of corruption and mismanagement, after finding no evidence to support the claims.


Fifa announced a profit of SFr214 million for 2005.
It says the staging of this year’s World Cup, which kicks off on June 9, will cost SFr871 million.
Sepp Blatter, a Swiss, was elected Fifa’s eighth president in 1998.
His second term as president is due to end in 2007 but he has said he will stand for re-election.

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