Blatter departure date set as FIFA tries again with reforms

Mon Jul 20, 2015 1:28pm EDT
 
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By Simon Evans

ZURICH (Reuters) - FIFA President Sepp Blatter on Monday announced a reform taskforce to try to leave the troubled body in better shape when he finally stands down after a new leader of world football is elected in February.

Blatter, 79, tried to look ahead at executive meeting that set the date for the election as Feb. 26 and sketched out the reforms - but the corruption scandal that erupted in May once again overshadowed plans that critics blasted as insufficient.

As he sat down to begin a news conference at FIFA's Zurich headquarters, Blatter, head of the body since 1998, was showered with fake dollar bills by a suited prankster.

Clearly shaken, Blatter left the room while staff cleared up the paper from the floor.

British media identified the protester, who was taken away by police, as comedian Lee Nelson, real name Simon Brodkin, who has been involved in similar pranks and posted a picture of the incident on the Twitter feed of one of his alter egos.

World soccer bosses will be hoping the organization can draw a line under the past months with the election of a new leader.

While Blatter himself has not been charged with any wrongdoing, his vice president, Jeffrey Webb, appeared in a U.S. court on Saturday and pleaded not guilty to charges of racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering.

The 50-year-old Cayman Islands national is among nine soccer officials and five marketing executives charged by the U.S. Justice Department with allegedly exploiting the sport for their own gain through bribes of more than $150 million over 24 years.   Continued...

 
British comedian known as Lee Nelson (unseen) throws banknotes at FIFA President Sepp Blatter as he arrives for a news conference after the Extraordinary FIFA Executive Committee Meeting at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland July 20, 2015.   REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann