Another FIFA official to replace Blatter as presenter of Women’s World Cup
With Sepp Blatter staying away, FIFA Senior Vice-President and African soccer head Issa Hayatou will present the trophy at the Women’s World Cup final in Canada, a senior official at Hayatou’s Confederation of African Football said Wednesday.
Hayatou, the president of the African confederation and a longserving member of FIFA’s executive committee, was “already in Canada,” CAF secretary general Hicham el Amrani said in an email to The Associated Press.
He was there to present the trophy in Blatter’s place, el Amrani wrote in a brief message.
Blatter, the FIFA president, is skipping the trip to North America in the midst of a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into corruption in the world body. The investigation prompted Blatter to announce his intention to resign just four days after being re-elected to a fifth term.
No charges have been laid against Blatter, but American law enforcement authorities have confirmed he is part of the investigation. Traveling for the women’s final would have brought the 79-year-old Swiss to Vancouver and about 25 miles (40 kilometres) from the U.S. border.
His absence is a break in FIFA protocol, which sees the head of the world body traditionally travelling to international tournaments for at least the final.
FIFA said Tuesday that both Blatter and his No. 2, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke, wouldn’t go to Canada because of their “current commitments” in Zurich, where FIFA is based. FIFA said Wednesday it would announce plans for the Women’s World Cup trophy presentation in due course.
Nine top soccer officials and five sports marketing agents are already under arrest in the U.S. investigation and facing extradition to the United States on charges of bribery and racketeering. Four men, including former FIFA executive committee member Chuck Blazer of the United States, have entered guilty pleas.
In a second probe, Swiss authorities are investigating possible money laundering and criminal mismanagement at FIFA, mainly in the bidding contests which awarded the 2018 World Cup to Russia and 2022 tournament to Qatar.
The 68-year-old Hayatou has served on FIFA’s powerful executive committee for 25 years.