Disgraced former FIFA president Sepp Blatter has reacted strongly to the news that criminal proceedings have been brought against his successor, Gianni Infantino, saying FIFA’s ethics commission has no option but to suspend him.
Swiss authorities revealed on Thursday that proceedings had been launched against Infantino by a special prosecutor, with the investigation focusing on meetings between Infantino and Swiss Atorney General Michael Lauber. Both men have denied any wrongdoing in the case.
But the commencement of criminal proceedings has led Infantino’s predecessor to go public with his view on the situation as he called for his successor to be suspended.
“For me, the situation is clear, that the FIFA ethics committee has to open a case against Mr. Infantino and so it has to suspend him,” Blatter told Reuters.
Blatt was suspended and subsequently banned by FIFA’s ethics committee after 17 years at the helm of world football’s governing body after he became the subject of criminal proceedings in Switzerland in 2015.
Despite his denials of wrongdoing, Blatter remains under investigation over a payment of two million Swiss francs ($2.2 million) made to then-UEFA president Michel Platini in 2011.
It led to both Blatter and Platini being banned for eight years, though they saw their bans reduced to six and four years respectively. Like Blatter, Platini also denied any wrongdoing.
In the case of Infantino, FIFA’s ethics committee has refused to be drawn on the topic of an internal investigation into Infantino’s activities.
“Please note that as a general policy, the ethics committee does not comment on potential ongoing proceedings, nor on whether or not investigations are underway into alleged cases,” it told Reuters in a statement.
“As usual, any information the Ethics Committee may like to share will be communicated accordingly upon their indications.”