Swiss to probe contract signed by FIFA's Blatter: officials

Sun Sep 13, 2015 8:01pm EDT
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By Mark Hosenball and David Ingram

Zurich/New York (Reuters) - The Swiss Attorney General’s Office will investigate a contract for media rights to the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, two Swiss law enforcement officials said over the weekend.

The inquiry follows a television news report asserting that FIFA sold the rights for rates far below market to a Caribbean soccer organization, whose leader then resold them for much more.

The interest by Swiss prosecutors, who are already investigating how FIFA awarded the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosting rights to Russia and Qatar, expands the scrutiny facing FIFA and its president, Sepp Blatter, along with Jack Warner, former head of the Caribbean soccer federation.

Warner is under indictment in the United States for an alleged bribery scheme relating to other soccer media rights in the Americas. Blatter faces no charges. Both men have denied any wrongdoing.

The latest inquiry involves a 2005 contract to televise the 2010 and 2014 World Cups in parts of the Caribbean.

Swiss broadcaster SRF reported on Friday that FIFA signed over the media rights to the Caribbean Football Union for $600,000, but that Warner, head of the CFU at the time, then transferred the rights to his own company and resold them in a deal worth between $15 million and $20 million.

SRF posted excerpts of the contract on its website showing that Blatter and Warner signed it themselves.

A spokeswoman for U.S. prosecutors in Brooklyn, New York did not respond to a request for comment on whether American authorities, who are running their own sweeping investigation of alleged corruption in soccer, would join Swiss law enforcement in looking at the contract.   Continued...

The logo of FIFA is seen in front of its headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland July 20, 2015. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann