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Soccer

Blatter in FBI spotlight over bribes: report

Soccer

US authorities are investigating evidence indicating FIFA’s suspended president Sepp Blatter knew about $US100 million ($A136.24 million) in bribes paid to former members of the football body, a BBC report said on Sunday.

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The BBC investigation alleges that sports marketing company ISL paid a total of $100 million to officials including ex-FIFA president Joao Havelange and former FIFA executive Ricardo Teixeira.

In return, the company received television and marketing rights during the 1990s, the report said.

Blatter has maintained he was unaware of the payments, but the BBC said it had seen a letter obtained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States that casts doubt on his denial.

The letter refers to the ISL payments and is alleged to have been written by Havelange, who notes that Blatter had “full knowledge of all activities” and was “always apprised” of them.

Blatter was Havelange’s top deputy before taking over from Havelange as FIFA president in 1998.

The BBC said Blatter had declined to respond to their allegations.

Blatter, who was suspended in October for 90 days by FIFA’s ethics committee, is due to stand down in February.

US prosecutors are investigating several top football officials in a quest to root out graft at FIFA.

AFP

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