Head Of FIFA's Reform Commission Says President Has Been Treated Unfairly
The man leading FIFA's new reform commission says that he has seen the indictment prepared by prosecutors in the U.S. and he knows of no evidence against FIFA President Sepp Blatter.
"There is something unfair in the way he is [being] treated. I say that with complete independence," said Swiss lawyer Francois Carrard, in an interview with Le Matin, in which he also confirmed that he was being paid by FIFA.
Carrard was appointed to FIFA's 15-person reform committee this month. He is a former International Olympic Committee director.
"This man has been unfairly treated," Carrad said. "And if we talk about corruption ... I have the whole U.S. proceedings on my table. In the indictment, there is not one word against him. Nothing. Today I am not aware of any indication of corruption against Blatter."
Carrard was referring to the seven FIFA officials arrested in Switzerland at the request of the United States in late May. While Blatter was not among those arrested, nor was he one of the 14 officials indicted by the Justice Department on charges of bribery, racketeering, money laundering and wire fraud, the ripples of the scandals inched ever closer two Blatter as two of his vice presidents were among those charged.
The Guardian newspaper reports that the bulk of the reform commission is made up of a majority of representatives from the regional confederations that control FIFA's executive committee, raising skepticism about just how much reform will actually come to pass.
Blatter, 79, speaking to the BBC today, said he is "clean" and "there is no corruption in football" amid criminal investigations into the world football governing body.
In late May, after the arrests of the FIFA officials, Blatter appeared to resign only to declare a few weeks later that he had, in fact, not resigned. But the president of the world's soccer governing body and self-described "godfather" of women's soccer did not attend the women's World Cup in Canada this summer citing commitments in Switzerland. However, there is speculation that fear of an international criminal probe into FIFA by American and Swiss prosecutors kept him away.
Carrard, however, doubled down on his defense of Blatter saying, "We are in the process of pillorying him. Unfortunately, it's always like that when somebody stays too long, the negative side gets noticed," Carrard said.
An odd side-note of the interview came when Carrard seemed to take a shot at soccer in the U.S., calling it "an ethnic sport [and] one girls pay at school."
Twitter immediately picked up on the slight.
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