It’s been bubbling under the surface for a while now. The collapse of FIFA’s former marketing partners ISL/ISMM almost seven years ago is soon to be dragged through the courts in Switzerland — the scandalous and hugely costly fall of ISL/ISMM almost brought down Blatter at the time, and there’s a chance senior FIFA executives could be named as having taken bribes.
It might get very ugly for Sepp Blatter. Der Spiegel, a German magazine, has a long feature (in English!) explaining the background to this and what could happen next. Here’s a snippet:
Just under a year ago Blatter dedicated FIFA’s new headquarters in Zurich, which cost 240 million francs. Now he can spend his time there dreaming of the Nobel Prize. Five of the building’s eight floors are underground — evidence for his adversaries that megalomania and obfuscation are the real principles behind his tenure.
Since his election 10 years ago, Blatter has had to defend himself against the charge that FIFA can be bought. He consistently denies the existence of any corruption. “I am not bribable,” he once said in an interview. “Otherwise you can chop off both of my hands.”
But now Swiss investigators have found that sports officials, including representatives of FIFA, may have taken bribes numbering in the millions. The district attorney’s office in the Canton of Zug in Switzerland has drafted a 228-page complaint, which includes extensive testimony and evidence of a bribery system.
The prosecutors compiled this information for a case against six former managers of ISMM, a holding company dealing in sports media and marketing rights. The case is scheduled to go to trial in Zug on March 11. Apparently the company used secret payments to buy the support of key decision-makers in connection with the awarding of exclusive football rights.
Expect to hear a lot more about this soon. As always when you want the truth on FIFA’s dirt, expect Andrew Jennings to be on the case — he’s been waiting for this one for a while. And we’ll be all over it here, too, as we have with previous Blatter scandals.