FIFA has lodged a criminal complaint against former president Joseph “Sepp” Blatter over the finances of a museum in Zurich, Switzerland bringing the name of the ex-President into the fray. The football world governing body lodged the complaint on Tuesday.
The involvement of Bladder and other former officials in the FIFA museum project is the crux of the latest allegation of financial impropriety against the 84-year-old, who resigned from his post as president in 2015 amid a corruption scandal.
The Swiss have always denied any wrongdoing.
However, football’s world governing body allege that Blatter’s administration cost them £420m in renovation costs for “a building that the organisation doesn’t own”, while also “locking itself into a long-term rental agreement on unfavourable terms”.
Alasdair Bell, FIFA’s Deputy Secretary General (Administration), explained: “Given the massive costs associated with this museum, as well as the general way of working of the previous FIFA management, a forensic audit was conducted in order to find out what really happened here.
“That audit revealed a wide range of suspicious circumstances and management failures, some of which may be criminal in nature and need to be properly investigated by the relevant authorities.
“We came to the conclusion that we had no choice other than to report the case to state prosecutors, not least because the current management of FIFA also has fiduciary responsibilities to the organisation and we intend to live up to them, even if those before us dismally failed to.”
FIFA has forwarded the complaint to the Zurich prosecutor, and said it wouldl “continue to cooperate with the authorities in Switzerland and elsewhere so that those people who damaged football are held accountable for their actions”.
The museum project in question began in 2013, which is two years before Blatter, who was FIFA president for 17 years, announced his resignation.
Lorenz Erni, Blatter’s lawyer, responded by claiming that FIFA’s accusations are “baseless and vehemently repudiated”.
Blatter is currently serving a six-year ban from all forms of football.