Soccer-FIFA turns down request for Blatter to attend U.S. Senate panel hearing

Mon Jul 13, 2015 7:57pm EDT
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By Mark Hosenball and Simon Evans

July 13 (Reuters) - A U.S. Senate panel invited FIFA President Sepp Blatter to answer questions at a hearing this Wednesday about the corruption scandal that has badly tarnished soccer's global governing body but FIFA declined on his behalf, a congressional official said.

"Sen. Moran's office reached out to FIFA to explore the possibility of having Mr. Blatter testify but the organization declined," said Garrette Turner, spokesman for Senator Jerry Moran, the Republican chairman of the consumer protection subcommittee, which is holding the hearing.

FIFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment and Blatter's legal representative in the U.S. declined to comment.

Blatter said last week in an interview with German newspaper Welt am Sonntag that he "won't take any travel risks until everything has been cleared up".

The 79-year-old Swiss national did not attend the final of FIFA's Women's World Cup in Vancouver earlier this month but says he intends to be in Russia in late July for the draw for qualifying games for the 2018 World Cup.

Also missing from the hearing will be U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) top elected official, President Sunil Gulati, who is a member of FIFA's executive committee representing the North America region. He has been USSF president since 2006.

The USSF will be represented instead by CEO and Secretary General Dan Flynn.

Senator Moran's office said that Flynn was "the highest ranking official U.S. Soccer was willing to send" to testify at the hearing.   Continued...