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Publisher challenges Fifa book ban

Zurich-based Fifa has rejected the book's allegations Keystone

The publisher of a book detailing serious allegations of corruption within world football's governing body, Fifa, is trying to overturn a ban on its sale in Switzerland.

Last week a cantonal court issued a provisional ruling preventing the publication and distribution of “Foul! The Secret World of Fifa: Bribes, Vote Rigging and Ticket Scandals”.

The book, written by British investigative journalist Andrew Jennings, has gone on sale worldwide – but not in Switzerland.

Zurich-based Fifa sought and obtained a temporary injunction last week, after arguing that the book contained “a number of false and libellous claims”.

London-based publisher HarperCollins UK said on Wednesday that it stood by the contents of the book and would be challenging the ruling by the Zurich court.

“We have been advised by Swiss lawyers that we can overturn this injunction and it’s our current intention to do so,” said a spokeswoman for HarperCollins.

“Andrew Jennings spent four years meticulously researching the book and we stand behind the allegations.”

The book 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 (SFr372 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.

“At first glance, Fifa has noted that the book basically reveals nothing new,” the organisation said in a statement. “Fifa therefore rejects the allegations having already commented on them in writing to the author on several occasions.”

Fifa declined to comment further when contacted by swissinfo on Wednesday.

swissinfo, Adam Beaumont

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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