Blatter could remain FIFA head if suitable candidate not found: report

Mon Jun 15, 2015 8:04pm EDT
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By Brian Homewood

ZURICH/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sepp Blatter could go back on his promise to stand down as FIFA president, a former adviser said on Monday, even as U.S. prosecutors revealed a plea deal with a past FIFA executive who told investigators about bribes and kickbacks.

Klaus Stoehlker, who advised Blatter during this year's FIFA election campaign, told Sky News that Blatter could remain head of world soccer's governing body if a "convincing candidate" to replace him did not emerge.

FIFA said in a statement that Stoehlker, who was in a meeting when contacted by Reuters and unable to comment, was no longer working with Blatter.

Blatter said on June 2 that he would step down as FIFA president. He is under pressure to leave sooner rather than later as U.S. and Swiss authorities widen investigations into bribery and corruption at the organization. European Union lawmakers are among those calling for his immediate departure.

Also on Monday, U.S. prosecutors revealed their plea agreement with Chuck Blazer, showing that the former FIFA executive committee member secretly provided authorities with information for nearly two years before he admitted guilt in court in November 2013.

Blazer was the former general secretary of CONCACAF, soccer's governing body in North and Central America and the Caribbean and a FIFA executive.

FIFA underwent yet another blow to its prestige on Monday when the Nobel Peace Center said it was ending its cooperation with the governing body.

The center was behind the Handshake for Peace initiative, which had been enthusiastically promoted by Blatter over the past three years.   Continued...

A file picture shows FIFA President Sepp Blatter (L) standing in front of executive member Chuck Blazer of the U.S. during the 61st FIFA congress at the Hallenstadion in Zurich June 1, 2011. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann