Day after decision to resign, FIFA president Blatter back to work at headquarters amid crisis

A day after announcing his decision to resign, Sepp Blatter was back at work at FIFA headquarters on Wednesday as the worst corruption crisis in the governing body’s 111-year history continued to unfold.

ZURICH — A day after announcing his decision to resign, Sepp Blatter was back at work at FIFA headquarters on Wednesday as the worst corruption crisis in the governing body’s 111-year history continued to unfold.

Interpol added six men with ties to FIFA to its most wanted list, while South African officials denied they made a $10 million bribe to secure the 2010 World Cup.

Blatter spoke to FIFA staff for about 10 minutes on Wednesday morning, returning to the same auditorium where he delivered his resignation speech a day earlier. Staff described him as being emotional, and said he received a standing ovation.

Elsewhere, Interpol got involved. The international police force, based in Lyon, France, issued an alert for two former FIFA officials and four executives on charges including racketeering and corruption.

Two of the men, former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner of Trinidad and Tobago and former executive committee member Nicolas Leoz of Paraguay, have been arrested in their home counties. Warner has since been released and Leoz is under house arrest. The Interpol “red notice” means they risk arrest anywhere they travel.

In South Africa, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula said the government wanted to “categorically deny” that the country paid any bribes to win the right to host the 2010 tournament.

Mbalula characterized the $10 million as an “above-board payment” to help soccer development in the Caribbean region.

The money, which went into a fund controlled by Warner, is part of the U.S. investigation into soccer corruption. That probe led to the arrest of seven soccer officials in Zurich last week, kicking off the FIFA scandal and eventually leading to Blatter’s decision to step down.

Warner and Leoz were among 14 people indicted in the U.S. as part of the federal investigation.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, speaking in Latvia on Wednesday at a meeting with EU justice ministers, declined to comment on Blatter’s resignation or whether he was himself under investigation.

“It’s an open case and so we will now be speaking through the courts,” Lynch said.

In a separate probe, Swiss authorities have opened a criminal investigation related to the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding contests. Russia won the right to host the 2018 tournament and Qatar was awarded the 2022 World Cup.

The Swiss attorney general’s office said Blatter was not under investigation, but said it has opened criminal proceedings against “persons unknown” for money-laundering.

In Moscow, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Blatter’s announcement hasn’t affected the country’s plans to host the tournament.

Blatter said Tuesday he would remain president until a new election can be set up, which FIFA said could be sometime between December and March.

But Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein, who lost to Blatter in Friday’s election, is looking into whether he should be in line to replace Blatter without going to another vote. The Jordanian Football Association said it is studying FIFA rules to see whether they allow for the possibility.

In South Korea, former FIFA vice-president Chung Mong-joon said at a news conference that he will think about whether to run. UEFA president Michel Platini is considered a likely candidate.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Red Deer Rebels hosted the Medicine Hat Tigers in the first game of the shortened 2020-21 season on Friday. The two teams faced off again in Medicine Hat Saturday (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)
Red Deer Rebels fall to Medicine Hat Tigers on Saturday

Tigers 7 Rebels 2 The Red Deer Rebels have lost two straight… Continue reading

Erika Fetterly, owner of EFP Studios, recently launched the Let Them Have A Voice campaign. (Contributed photo)
Central Alberta photographer’s campaign aims to give youths a voice

An Innisfail photographer is giving a platform to young central Albertans so… Continue reading

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer reports 25th COVID-19 death

415 new cases identified provincially Saturday

More than 120,000 Albertans have signed up to get the COVID-19 vaccine in the first two days of appointment bookings. (Photo courtesy Alberta Health Services Twitter)
Alberta Health Services apologizes after seniors struggle to book vaccine appointments

The CEO and president of Alberta Health Services is apologizing after seniors… Continue reading

Red Deer’s Kyle Moore, 26, will be a houseguest on Season 9 of Big Brother Canada. (Photo courtesy Big Brother Canada)
Red Deer man will be a houseguest on Big Brother Canada

A Red Deer man will be a houseguest on the upcoming season… Continue reading

An arrest by Red Deer RCMP is facing online scrutiny. No charges have been laid and the incident is still under investigation. (Screenshot of YouTube video)
Red Deer RCMP investigating violent arrest caught on video

Police say officer ‘acted within the scope of his duties’

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Machin waits to appear at the Standing Committee on Finance on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on Tuesday, November 1, 2016. Executives who engage in so-called "vaccine tourism" show both an ethical disregard for those less fortunate and a surprising lack of business acumen, experts argue. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine tourism is both unethical and bad for business, experts say

Executives who engage in so-called “vaccine tourism” show both an ethical disregard… Continue reading

Edmonton Oilers' Jesse Puljujarvi (13) and Toronto Maple Leafs' Justin Holl (3) battle in front as goalie Jack Campbell (36) makes the save during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, February 27, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
No Matthews, no problem: Minus NHL goal leader, Maple Leafs blank Oilers 4-0

Leafs 4 Oilers 0 EDMONTON — The Maple Leafs knew even with… Continue reading

The Pornhub website is shown on a computer screen in Toronto on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Pornhub policies reveal legal gaps and lack of enforcement around exploitive videos

OTTAWA — Serena Fleites was in seventh grade when a sexually explicit… Continue reading

Sean Hoskin stands on a neighbourhood street in Halifax on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Hoskin was diagnosed with COVID-19 almost a year ago with symptoms that still persist. Some provinces have established programs to deal with long-term sufferers but Atlantic Canada, with relatively low numbers of patients, has yet to provide a resource to assist them. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
On East Coast, exhausted COVID-19 ‘long haulers’ hope specialized clinics will emerge

HALIFAX — On evenings when Sean Hoskin collapses into bed, heart pounding… Continue reading

Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray (30) stands in his crease as Calgary Flames left wing Andrew Mangiapane (88), left to right, defenceman Rasmus Andersson (4), Matthew Tkachuk (19), Mikael Backlund (11) and Mark Giordano (5) celebrate a goal during second period NHL action in Ottawa on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Calgary Flames beat Ottawa 6-3 to end Senators’ three-game win streak

Flames 6 Senators 3 OTTAWA — The Calgary Flames used a balanced… Continue reading

Crosses are displayed in memory of the elderly who died from COVID-19 at the Camilla Care Community facility during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on November 19, 2020. The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection is likely to be much higher than recorded because of death certificates don't always list the virus as the cause of a fatality, experts say. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Death certificates don’t accurately reflect the toll of the pandemic, experts say

The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine is barely enough to cover the average pinky nail but is made up of more than 280 components and requires at least three manufacturing plants to produce. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
From science to syringe: COVID-19 vaccines are miracles of science and supply chains

OTTAWA — A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine is barely enough… Continue reading

Most Read