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CORRUPTION

Blatter ‘will attend Fifa appeal hearing’: lawyer

Blatter's appeal will be heard by Fifa's appeals commission just 10 days before the extraordinary congress in Zurich on February 26th when a vote will be held to appoint a new president of world football's governing body.

Blatter 'will attend Fifa appeal hearing': lawyer
Blatter's hearing is scheduled 24 hours after that of fallen Uefa president Michel Platini. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Blatter's hearing is scheduled 24 hours after that of fallen Uefa president Michel Platini, who is also appealing against his eight-year suspension.

Asked by AFP whether Blatter, 79, would attend the hearing in person, spokesman Klaus Stoehlker responded: “I confirm.”

Both Blatter and Platini were banned for eight years on December 21st over a two-million-franc ($2 million) payment that Blatter authorized for Platini in 2011 for work done a decade earlier.

Fifa's ethics committee said it would appeal against the sentence saying it is too lenient.

Anti-corruption investigators had originally sought a life ban from all football activity against Blatter and Platini.

Depending on the Fifa judges' verdict, both men could take their respective cases to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, the highest tribunal in sports.

Blatter, who has headed Fifa since 1998, has spoken of his wish to preside at the upcoming presidential election, in which Platini was seen as the favourite to succeed the Swiss before the scandal erupted.

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FOOTBALL

Trial over 2006 German World Cup corruption opens in Switzerland

Three former German football officials and ex-FIFA Secretary General Urs Linsi went on trial on Monday in Switzerland over suspicions that Germany bought votes to obtain the 2006 World Cup.

Trial over 2006 German World Cup corruption opens in Switzerland
Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

The three defendants have indicated that they will not be present at the hearing in Bellinzona for a variety of reasons, including fear of travelling because of coronavirus contagion.

Swiss Linsi, 70, former German Football Association (DFB) presidents Wolfgang Niersbach, 69, and Theo Zwanziger, 74, and 78-year-old former DFB General Secretary Horst R. Schmidt are being prosecuted for “fraud”.

They are accused by the Swiss Federal Prosecutor's Office (BA) of concealing from the DFB the true destination of a transfer of 6.7 million euros ($7.6 million today), paid in 2005 by the organising committee to former Adidas boss, the late Robert Louis-Dreyfus, via FIFA.

The case of former World Cup organising committee chairman Franz Beckenbauer is being heard separately because of the former Germany captain's poor health.

The investigation was prompted by a report in German publication Der Spiegel in 2015 that Germany had used a secret fund of 10 million Swiss francs (6.7 million euros at the time) to buy votes and obtain the rights to host the competition at the expense of South Africa.

Beckenbauer is suspected of having asked Louis-Dreyfus, to contribute to this fund shortly before the vote on the host in the summer of 2000.

Louis-Dreyfus was allegedly reimbursed by the German Football Association on the pretext of expenses related to a FIFA gala evening, which ever took place.

Zwanziger, Niersbach and Schmidt have also been charged with tax fraud in Germany and the case is expected to come to trial in the coming months. cpb/pb/td

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