May 15 – Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter has denied being behind the submission of an anonymous criminal complaint against his successor, Gianni Infantino.
The complaint, understood to have been made electronically, has been filed with the regional prosecutor’s office in Bern, Switzerland, and could technically lead, if upheld, to a formal investigation with the obvious knock-on effect that would have with any FIFA ethics process.
Infantino is under fire for a series of undocumented meetings with Swiss Attorney general Michael Lauber amid suspicions that the FIFA boss was trying to influence the Swiss judicial process, the English equivalent of perverting the course of justice.
Blatter, still serving a lengthy ban for that notorious “disloyal payment” saga involving Michel Platini, insists he is not the origin of the legal complaint.
“It’s not me in any respect,” he told l’Equipe. “I don’t know who did it. I’m not going to start submitting lawsuits. I’m in favour of dialogue.”
Whilst there is no love lost between Blatter and Infantino, the former says he would still favour a face-to-face meeting with his successor to resolve their seemingly irreconcilable differences.
“I’m still waiting for Gianni Infantino to tell me, “Look, I’m going to come see you and we’re looking at how we can solve the problems.” But he won’t. Why does he hate me so much? ”
After several weeks of negative articles about Infantino’s relationship with Lauber, Fifa has now issued a strongly-worded defence of its president’s conduct, saying it is designed to help weed out corruption and describing criticism of Infantino as a farce.
“Meeting with prosecutors is a standard procedure not a crime. Making an complaint against someone for meeting a prosecutor is a farce,” a statement said.
“Those who fear being brought to justice can make as many anonymous complaints as they want. This will not deter FIFA and the FIFA President from cooperating with prosecutors in Switzerland and in other countries in their task of investigating and eventually holding wrong-doing to account.”
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