Fresh blow for FIFA as Nobel Peace center ends cooperation

Mon Jun 15, 2015 6:28pm EDT
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By By Brian Homewood

ZURICH (Reuters) - FIFA suffered another blow to its prestige on Monday when the Nobel Peace Center announced it was ending its cooperation with soccer's scandal-plagued governing body.

The Oslo-based center had been behind the Handshake for Peace initiative which had been enthusiastically promoted by FIFA President Sepp Blatter over the past three years.

FIFA had promoted pre-match handshakes between team captains and officials as the Handshake for Peace and had been hoping to introduce it at the end of games as well.

The announcement came three days after Interpol suspended a 20 million euro ($22 million) arrangement with FIFA on fighting match-fixing.

The FBI is investigating bribery and corruption involving FIFA officials, including scrutiny of how FIFA awarded World Cup hosting rights to Russia and Qatar. At the end of last month nine current or former FIFA officials and five business executives were indicted on corruption charges.

Blatter was re-elected for a fifth term as FIFA president at the end of May but he announced four days later that he would stand down and call a new election as the corruption allegations continued to batter FIFA.

Blatter, 79, has urged those present to share in a handshake at almost every public appearance he has made since the initiative got off the ground in 2012.

"The board asks the administration to terminate the cooperation with FIFA as soon as circumstances allow," said the Nobel Peace Center in a statement.   Continued...

A staff walks past a logo of soccer's international governing body FIFA at their headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, May 27, 2015. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich