Another FIFA of­fi­cial to re­place Blat­ter as pre­sen­ter of Women’s World Cup

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS - BY GERALD IM­RAY

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.

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