Less than beautiful allegations
Footballing body FIFA is back in the news as it has been announced this week that outgoing president Sepp Blatter and UEFA president Michel Platini, along with general secretary Jerome Valcke, who is already on leave amid allegations of black market ticket sales, have been suspended for 90 days. FIFA’s ethics committee has announced that that the suspensions come into force immediately and that the individuals were “banned from all football activities on a national and international level.”
There have been investigations going on for some time and FIFA presidential candidate and former vice president Chung Mong-joon has already been banned for six years and fined 100,000 Swiss francs for breaking rules during the 2022 World Cup bid campaign.
Late last month, FIFA’s Swiss accountants launched an internal investigation into work it undertook for the organisation and, should they discover any irregularities in the ongoing investigation, the auditor is bound by law to report them. A spokesman for the firm declined to comment on the allegations against FIFA officials by the US Department of Justice, and contended that those charges were primarily focused on activities that had “no direct effect on the statutory financial reports of FIFA.”
With forensic investigations mounting, it cannot be long before the full picture of what has been going on at FIFA will emerge. Forensic financial experts will not just look into the organisation’s finances but will also examine the bank accounts of anyone suspected of unethical practices, as well as documents such as emails or transcripts of phone conversations. Many people who feel that they have covered their tracks have come unstuck after such investigations but they also have the opportunity to present their own evidence. In fact, Mr Blatter has just announced that he is launching an appeal and his lawyers have said in a statement that he is looking forward to presenting evidence that will prove he did not engage in any misconduct.
Author: Roger Isaacs, 15 October 2015
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