Blatter considering legal action against FIFA

Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter smiles during an interview in Zurich, Switzerland, in this April 21, 2017 file photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 02 February 2018
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Blatter considering legal action against FIFA

MANCHESTER, England: Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter, currently serving a ban from the sport, told Reuters on Thursday he is considering legal action against the global football body in an attempt to clear his name.
Blatter, who led FIFA for 17 years, was handed a six-year ban for ethics violations, imposed amid the biggest corruption scandal to shake world soccer’s governing body in 2015.
The 81-year-old Swiss said that while “for the time being there is no legal action,” he and his lawyers were working on a potential case.
“My aim is to look into the decision of FIFA’s Ethic-Committee in view of informations, and even evidences that I have received, in the meantime, in connection with my suspension,” Blatter told Reuters via email.
“We are working on this case – and looking forward for development.”
It is likely that any legal action from Blatter would take place in the Swiss civil courts.
FIFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In December 2016, Blatter lost an appeal in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against the suspension.
CAS ruled that Blatter had authorized payments to Michel Platini, then the European football boss, worth over $2 million that amounted to “undue gifts” and therefore violated FIFA’s code of ethics.
Blatter had resigned in June 2015 after several dozen football officials, including FIFA executive committee members and former members, had been indicted in the United States on graft charges, along with two sports marketing firms.
The former FIFA president was not among those indicted, but became embroiled in scandal when he was banned from all football-related activity the following December by FIFA’s Ethics Committee along with Platini.
The men were banned, initially for eight years, over a payment of 2 million Swiss francs ($1.98 million) that FIFA made to Platini in 2011, with Blatter’s approval, for work done a decade earlier. The bans were reduced to six years by FIFA’s appeals committee in February 2016.
Blatter, who has denied all charges against him, had compared the FIFA Ethics Committee investigation to “the inquisition.”
In 2015 Swiss prosecutors opened a criminal investigation into Blatter on suspicion of criminal mismanagement and misappropriation but no charges have yet been brought.
The man who headed FIFA from 1998 to 2015 says he intends to attend June’s World Cup in Russia after a personal invitation from Russian President Vladimir Putin.


Saudi Arabia to face Japan in Asian Cup second round after defeat to Qatar

Updated 17 January 2019
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Saudi Arabia to face Japan in Asian Cup second round after defeat to Qatar

  • A double from Almoez Ali means Qatar top Group E.
  • Juan Antonio Pizzi's men now face Japan in second round on Monday.

LONDON: Saudi Arabia now know they will have to overcome Japan in the second round if they are to keep their hopes of a fourth Asian Cup title alive. 

A 2-0 defeat at the hands of Qatar meant Juan Antonio Pizzi’s men finished second in Group E — both sides went into the top-of-the-table clash knowing they had already secured a spot in the knockout stages. 

A brace from Almoez Ali in Abu Dhabi was enough to give Qatar the three points and leave them top of the group. 

From the kick-off the Green Falcons were the ones who looked the more likely to make the initial breakthrough —  Fahad Almuwallad slamming a right-foot shot against the post after 22 minutes.

Qatar captain Hasan Al-Haydos then missed a penalty in the 42nd minute after Ali had been clattered in the box.

But Ali, who scored four goals in Qatar's 6-0 rout of North Korea last weekend, made no mistake in first-half stoppage time.

He calmly slotted the ball past Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Mohammed Alowais to become the first player to score six goals in a single Asian Cup since South Korea's Lee Dong-gook in 2000.

Ali subsequently headed in a seventh goal of the tournament 10 minutes from time, celebrating with a jig of delight.

While the defeat was not ideal Green Falcons coach Pizzi said he was still hopeful Saudi Arabia would be able to go far in the tournament. 

"It was an intense game but we have to hide our feelings and prepare for the last 16," Pizzi said.

"We were missing quality in the final third and individual errors have cost us," he added.

"But we will bounce back. I respect every team left in the competition, including Japan, but I don't feel that we are inferior to them in any way."

Qatar, who have never gone beyond the quarterfinals, advance to face Iraq in the last 16.