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FOOTBALL

Fifa official: corruption probe ‘must be public’

The results of a corruption probe over bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup must be made public, a senior official with Zurich-based Fifa who represents the game in Asia said on Wednesday.

Fifa official: corruption probe 'must be public'
Photo: AFP

"In the interest of full transparency I believe it is important that the much anticipated report on the ethics investigation — that is crucial to ensuring good governance at FIFA — is fully disclosed and open to the public," Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein said in a statement emailed to AFP.
   
"This will only help the football community move ahead in reforming our institutions in the best interest of the sport," he added.
   
Prince Ali is the vice-president of world football's governing body, representing Asia, and also heads the national association of his native Jordan.
   
An ethics panel led by former US federal prosecutor Michael Garcia has notably been looking into the way Qatar won the right to host the 2022 World Cup.

The Gulf state has faced corruption accusations but has strongly denied any wrongdoing.
   
The probe has also examined the process by which Russia won in its bid to host the 2018 World Cup.
   
In a break with Fifa tradition, the 2018 and 2022 tournaments were awarded at the same time, in 2010, leading to claims of horse-trading in the bidding process.
   
The 350-page Garcia report was handed to FIFA on September 5th.
   
It summed up a year-long investigation that involved interviewing more than 75 witnesses and compiling a dossier with more than 200,000 pages and audio interviews.
   
Fifa announced that the report recommended action against "individuals" over the bids, and changes for future bidding campaigns, but has not given further details.
   
It is now up to Fifa's adjudicatory chamber to decide on the future of the report and whether it will be published.
   
Fifa's Swiss boss Sepp Blatter has indicated that no decisions will be taken before October.

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FOOTBALL

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame

A Swiss super fan who has shot to fame after images of him watching Switzerland’s win over France went viral told the media he was unaware of his viral fame - but that he was overwhelmed with the world’s attention.

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame
Image: Twitter.

Like most Swiss football fans, Luca Loutenbach’s Monday evening – highlighted by a surprise upset win over the current World Champions and tournament favourite France – went about as well as you could have expected. 

But while his side were putting on the pressure through late goals to push the game into extra time, Loutenbach’s image was being shared across the world. 

Two pictures of Loutenbach, juxtaposed from before and after Switzerland scored an equaliser in the 90th minute to send the game to extra time, were widely shared. 

The images were even shared by Sadiq Kahn, the mayor of London, who congratulated Switzerland and said the images summed up the beauty of football. 

On Tuesday, Loutenbach spoke with Swiss tabloid Blick to tell the story. He said he had no idea about the images as his phone had no reception in Romania – and only found out after the game. 

“I didn’t have a network during the game. But some fans around me were connected to the internet and quickly realized what was happening. What an incredible buzz!” said the man from the canton of Jura. 

While Switzerland have made it further than they have in their history in the tournament, Loutenbach is far from a bandwagon fan. He told Blick he’s seen around 50 national team games before. 

“It’s the most beautiful day in the history of Swiss football, let’s not be afraid of saying it. It is the accomplishment of the immense work of the ASF (Federation), of (coach) Petkovic and of the whole team” he said. 

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