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Sunday 23 October 2016

Sepp Blatter tells Fifa staff he has done nothing illegal

Published 28/09/2015 | 16:30

Sepp Blatter has told staff at Fifa HQ that he has done nothing wrong
Sepp Blatter has told staff at Fifa HQ that he has done nothing wrong

Sepp Blatter's lawyer says that the Fifa president has told his staff he has done "nothing illegal or improper".

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Mr Blatter was back at Fifa headquarters, three days after being interrogated by Swiss investigators at the scandal-battered governing body's headquarters.

A statement from Mr Blatter's attorney, Richard Cullen, said the president "informed the staff that he was cooperating with the authorities, reiterated that he had done nothing illegal or improper and stated that he would remain as president of Fifa".

Mr Blatter is expected to hand over power in February when an emergency election is held, triggered by the president's resignation statement four days after being re-elected for a fifth term in May.

But the 79-year-old does not appear to be planning any sudden exit despite being the subject of a criminal investigation over his management of world soccer.

Mr Blatter was questioned by Swiss investigators on Friday about why Fifa paid two million Swiss francs (£1.35m) to Uefa President Michel Platini in 2011 for work supposedly carried out at least nine years earlier.

Mr Blatter denied wrongdoing and Mr Platini, who is also a Fifa vice president, was only questioned as a witness.

"President Blatter on Friday shared with the Swiss authorities the fact that Mr. Platini had a valuable employment relationship with Fifa serving as an adviser to the president beginning in 1998," Mr Cullen said.

"He explained to the prosecutors that the payments were valid compensation and nothing more and were properly accounted for within Fifa including the withholding of Social Security contributions."

The statement did not reference allegations Mr Blatter undervalued the awarding of World Cup rights to former vice president Jack Warner.

"Because of the continuing investigation President Blatter will answer no further questions at this time," Mr Cullen's statement concluded.

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