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CORRUPTION

Blatter biography gets March release date

An authorized biography of Sepp Blatter written by the shamed Fifa president's former spokesman will be released next month, the publisher said on Tuesday, four days before an election to choose Blatter's successor.

Blatter biography gets March release date
Sepp Blatter Photo: Valeriano di Domenico/AFP

“It is really a journey through Sepp Blatter's life,” said Alain Diezig of publisher Werd&Weber.
   
“Mission Football”, which includes many photos, was written by Thomas Renggli, who served as Blatter's spokesman at Fifa before resigning last September.
   
“Mr. Renggli has some very personal information from Mr. Blatter,” Diezig told AFP.
   
The German draft is currently undergoing final edits with publication expected in the coming weeks, while an English translation is due out in June, the publisher further said.
   
Diezig added that the book charts Blatter's early years in his home Swiss canton of Valais, his start in sports management and his rise “up the Fifa hierarchy”.
   
He said the project began long before May 2015, when the unprecedented crisis engulfing Fifa began with the arrests of football executives by Swiss police during a dawn raid in Zurich.
   
The book touches on the crisis and Renggli may be planning to add a final section following Friday's Fifa congress vote, where the next president of world football will be chosen.
   
“I think Mr. Renggli wanted to include the latest developments,” Diezig said.
   
Blatter, the most prominent casualty of the vast scandal within Fifa, was banned from football for eight years over ethics violations.
   
He has appealed that ban, with a decision expected on Tuesday.

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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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