Tuesday 20 March 2018

FAI boss John Delaney fears Sepp Blatter will hand-pick his successor

FAI Chief Executive John Delaney. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
FAI Chief Executive John Delaney. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

FAI chief executive John Delaney has said that he fears that Sepp Blatter has been using the time since his re-election to put his own candidate in place to succeed him.

It's been a very eventful 24 hours in the FIFA corruption scandal following the decision of FIFA President Sepp Blatter to retire.

Sources close to the case said last night that Mr Blatter is being investigated by the FBI and US prosecutors as part of the same investigation that led to the arrests last week of seven current and former Fifa officials.

Blatter's daughter told a Swiss newspaper on Wednesday her father's decision to stand down is not tied to recent allegations.

"His decision has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with the allegations going around," Corinne Blatter-Andenmatten is quoted as saying by Swiss daily Blick.

Speaking on Morning Ireland on RTE Radio one this morning, John Delaney put forward Michel Platini as a potential successor to Blatter put is concerned that Blatter will try to get his own man into the hotseat.

"Has some deal been done with Blatter for somebody to come in, Has he done a deal in the last couple of days? has he said 'I'm getting out of town but I want my own man in' and that's something that I'll be watching very carefully as will many others," he said.

Blatter received 133 votes out of 209 in last week's election and has widespread backing in Africa and Asia and Delaney feels that the continents will have to receive assurances from whoever replaces the the 79-year-old.

"Why did he go forward? He had the option to pull out. We went through the charade of him making a speech and telling us he was going to change the world," he added

"I think there was a blind loyalty to Blatter, in particular from the Africans and the Asians. Some of those countries felt that if Blatter goes they wouldn't get the funding they are getting.

"The message must come loud and clear from Uefa and South America, because Argentina and Brazil opposed Blatter as well, that is football funding that will go to funded projects that have been funded in parts of Africa and Asia and that will continue.

"The key really is who becomes the next president and the cultural change that's required.

"You can change your leader but if that culture doesn't change from the top, the issues that FIFA have been going through will continue.

We're not finished yet. The FBI are not going to stop their investigation because Blatter retired. There is a lot more to happen about what happened in the past yet.

"Whoever takes the mantle will have a really big job to change the culture at Fifa."

Interpol has also issued international wanted person alerts - or "Red Notices" - for two former Fifa officials including Jack Warner this morning.

The notices were issued by the international police force at the request of the US, and also include Paraguay's Nicolas Leoz, former Fifa executive committee member and CONMEBOL president.

Red Notices are used by Interpol to inform member nations that an arrest warrant has been issued for an individual - in this case by the US Department of Justice - and "seeks the location and arrest of wanted persons with a view to extradition or similar lawful action".

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