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Suspension justified? Investigator predicts Blatter’s return

Was he trying to fix things?


A Swiss parliamentarian examining FIFA for the Council of Europe believes that dethroned FIFA president Sepp Blatter will return for a couple of months after his suspension.

In an interview with the newspaper Schweiz am Sonntag on Sunday, Andreas Gross said that 79-year-old Blatter would probably come back to prepare for the conference where his successor will be chosen.

“But overall, there’s a shadow over him that needs to be clarified in every detail,” Gross said. Based in Zurich, FIFA is world football’s governing body. Amid a widening corruption scandal, the FIFA ethics commission suspended Blatter for 90 days on Thursday.

Gross told the newspaper that it was difficult to say whether the suspension was justified.

“I certainly get the impression that some of the allegations that have been raining down on Blatter for months are not justified,” said Gross, who spent three years investigating FIFA.

“For the Council of Europe report, we held several hearings with Blatter and other FIFA executives. We got the impression that Blatter realised four or five years ago that things needed to change at FIFA, and then initiated reforms to fight corruption while other FIFA executives, including some from Europe, didn’t want to cooperate.”

Gross, a representative of the leftwing Social Democratic Party, also said he wondered why Blatter hadn’t pushed for reforms earlier.

Blatter has said that he will appeal the suspension. Meanwhile, the Swiss Attorney General’s office has opened criminal proceedings against Blatter on suspicion of criminal mismanagement and misappropriation.

Nevertheless – “I’m fine and I feel good,” Blatter told Schweiz am Sonntag. “You can destroy me, but not my life’s work.”

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