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Blatter set for Stockholm showdown

Another day, another battle Keystone Archive

FIFA president Sepp Blatter is due to hold talks with one of his fiercest critics on Thursday as European football officials gather in Stockholm.

Lennart Johansson, the president of European football body UEFA and a former rival for Blatter’s position, has been highly critical of the FIFA president’s tenure. On Thursday the two men are set to meet at a UEFA congress in the Swedish capital.

On the eve of the congress Johansson launced a further attack on Blatter’s decision to suspend an internal audit into FIFA’s financial affairs. The 72-year-old Swede, who also sits on FIFA’s executive committee, has previously accused the Swiss of mass overspending and of “damaging the reputation” of the world body.

Last week, Johansson sent a letter to UEFA’s 51 member associations, urging them to vote for Blatter’s rival Issa Hayatou at next month’s presidential election in Seoul.

FIFA responded to Johansson’s latest criticisms on Wednesday by insisting that the “majority of members” on an emergency committee had backed Blatter’s decision to suspend the financial audit. Both Johansson and Hayatou were among those serving on the seven-member committee, although FIFA spokesman Nicolas Maingot did not say which members had approved the suspension.

Blatter has consistently denied any wrongdoing during his four years in office and insists that the latest allegations of mismanagement are party of a dirty campaign to oust him.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR