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US soccer star Hope Solo accuses Sepp Blatter of sexual harassment

Former US goalkeeper Hope Solo has said ex-FIFA boss Sepp Blatter groped her backside during the 2013 Ballon d'Or ceremony. Sexual harassment wasn't just a problem in Hollywood but in women's football as well, she said. Hope Solo, a star goalkeeper and former member of the US football team, accused former FIFA President Sepp Blatter of sexually harassing her, in an interview published on Friday. "Sepp Blatter grabbed my ass, it was a few years ago at the Ballon d'Or ceremony just before I got on stage," Solo told Portuguese newspaper Expresso. Read more: Louis C.K., Steven Seagal latest stars to face sexual assault allegations The 36-year-old soccer star said that 81-year-old Blatter made the move as she was about to present an award to her teammate Abby Wambach at the ceremony. Solo, a World Cup winner and two-time Olympic champion, said that sexual harassment in sport was "rampant" and that she hoped more athletes would speak out against it. "I wish more women, especially in football, would speak against it, about their experiences," she told the paper. Read more: Kevin Spacey sex assault allegations mount as UK police launch probe "I think it is important to acknowledge that this doesn't just happen with the powerful white men. It can happen all across the board, it can happen between women," she continued. "It's out of control, not just in Hollywood but everywhere," Solo said, referencing the wave of sexual harassment and assault allegations against high-profile men in entertainment and politics, which was triggered by a scandal involving movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. Blatter dismissed Solo's claims, telling the Guardian newspaper that the allegation "is ridiculous." Blatter has a history of sexist behavior when it comes to women's soccer. In 2004, he argued that the popularity of the women's game could be boosted if the players wore tighter shorts. In 2012, US forward Alex Morgan said that Blatter failed to recognize her during that year's Ballon d'Or, even though she was one of three nominees for the women's Player of the Year. The former FIFA head was suspended from office and banned from the sport for six years in 2015 following a corruption scandal.

Former US goalkeeper Hope Solo has said ex-FIFA boss Sepp Blatter groped her backside during the 2013 Ballon d’Or ceremony. Sexual harassment wasn’t just a problem in Hollywood but in women’s football as well, she said. Hope Solo, a star goalkeeper and former member of the US football team, accused former FIFA President Sepp Blatter of sexually harassing her, in ... Read More »

Investigators raid the French Football Federation in Blatter investigation

French authorities have seized documents in connection with former FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s infamous payment to UEFA president Michel Platini after raiding the French Football Federation on Tuesday. As part of an ongoing investigation involving Sepp Blatter, authorities have searched the offices of the French Football Federation (FFF), the office of the Swiss Attorney General said Wednesday. "Pursuant to that request... and in close coordination with the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG), the French Financial Prosecution Office proceeded yesterday to a search of the offices of the French Football Federation (FFF) in Paris," the statement from the Swiss Attorney General said. It added the search was "in connection with the criminal proceedings against Mr. Joseph Blatter." In the raid, documents "were seized" pertaining to the controversial payment of 2 million Swiss francs (1.83 million euros, $2 million) involving the former FIFA president and former UEFA president Michel Platini. Swiss authorities launched criminal proceedings against Blatter in September, and asked for assistance from French authorities in mid-January. Both Blatter and Platini are serving suspensions from FIFA regarding this suspect payment in 2011. However, the FIFA Appeals Committee reduced their bans from eight years to six despite rejecting their respective appeals for reinstatement. Gianni Infantino replaced Blatter as FIFA's president on February 26.

French authorities have seized documents in connection with former FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s infamous payment to UEFA president Michel Platini after raiding the French Football Federation on Tuesday. As part of an ongoing investigation involving Sepp Blatter, authorities have searched the offices of the French Football Federation (FFF), the office of the Swiss Attorney General said Wednesday. “Pursuant to that ... Read More »

Michel Platini withdraws candidacy for FIFA presidency

Already suspended from football for 8 years, UEFA's Michel Platini has formally thrown in the FIFA presidential towel. Previously, he had insisted he would fight for the position, even after his banishment. Banned UEFA President Michel Platini told French sports daily "L'Equipe," among other publications, that he would not seek to succeed Sepp Blatter as president of world football's governing body. "I withdraw my candidacy. I can no longer [go through with it]. I have neither the time, nor the means to go and see voters, to meet people, and to fight with others," Platini told L'Equipe. Platini was banned from football for eight years on December 21, along with FIFA President Blatter. Their suspension pertained to a payment by FIFA to Platini, made several years after Platini had worked for Blatter. A fight against 'injustice' Like Blatter , Platini has appealed and repeatedly asserted his innocence. The former UEFA head is hoping to clear his name in the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but he must wait until FIFA has ruled on the appeal first. In an interview with the Associated Press, Platini declined to call the past three months the hardest period of his life. However, he said he was still "struggling to understand what happened." "I'm taking this philosophically, let's wait and see what happens," he said. "But injustice is revolting me and I'm trying to fight it." Despite pressure to run from European bodies, including Germany's DFB football association, Platini chose not to stand against Blatter in the 2015 FIFA presidential election. Blatter won this vote, even as the FBI raided the annual FIFA conference in Zurich, arresting several key functionaries. Days later, Blatter announced that he would give up his mandate, calling a fresh vote for 2016 in which he would not run. Platini immediately put himself forward as a candidate, although doubts already existed as to whether he would be eligible to run by the time of the vote.

Already suspended from football for 8 years, UEFA’s Michel Platini has formally thrown in the FIFA presidential towel. Previously, he had insisted he would fight for the position, even after his banishment. Banned UEFA President Michel Platini told French sports daily “L’Equipe,” among other publications, that he would not seek to succeed Sepp Blatter as president of world football’s governing ... Read More »

FIFA looking to ban Platini for life, says lawyer

This could be a big blow to the UEFA boss and his ambitions of heading football's governing body. Michel Platini is already serving a 90-day suspension from football-related activities. UEFA's president, Michel Platini, who hopes to succeed Sepp Blatter atop FIFA, could face a life ban from football, according to his lawyer. Lawyer Thibaud d'Ales said that FIFA's ethics committee asked for the maximum sanction when it submitted its final case report on a payment of 2 million Swiss francs (1.84 million euros, $1.97 million), one Platini received from Blatter. Platini's lawyer said the bid for a lifelong ban was a "scandal" and "excessive." "This ban is subject to the proof of corruption, but the punishment is clearly excessive," D'Ales told Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency. "It's not based on anything in the case." "The overreaching of the request really convinces us of this commission's total lack of credibility," D'Ales told the Associated Press (AP). "There is not a single tangible element in this case that can confirm the suspicions." The ethics committee will announce its final verdict next month, FIFA said on Monday, when Platini will face a hearing in front of German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert. Platini, 60, and Blatter, 79, are both serving a 90-day suspension from FIFA, football's governing body, because of a corruption charge involving the alledged payment. Both had their appeals denied last week, and Platini is taking his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) . Platini is in his eighth year as president of UEFA. He also worked as a presidential advisor to Blatter from 1998-2002. His current ban from FIFA had so far prevented him from officially applying for the FIFA presidency - in an election due to take place on February 26. A lifetime ban would categorically end his hopes for the job.

This could be a big blow to the UEFA boss and his ambitions of heading football’s governing body. Michel Platini is already serving a 90-day suspension from football-related activities. UEFA’s president, Michel Platini, who hopes to succeed Sepp Blatter atop FIFA, could face a life ban from football, according to his lawyer. Lawyer Thibaud d’Ales said that FIFA’s ethics committee ... Read More »

FIFA’s official Marin extradited to US to face bribery charges

Switzerland has handed over former Brazilian football chief Jose Maria Marin to US authorities. Marin is one of the seven FIFA executives arrested on bribery charges during the large Zurich raid. Marin left Switzerland on Tuesday to face graft charges in the US, the Swiss justice ministry (FOJ) said in Bern. "He was handed over to two US police officers in Zurich who accompanied him on the flight to New York," FOJ spokesman Folco Galli said. The US prosecutors believe that Marin took millions of dollars in bribes from sports marketing companies. Marin served as president of Brazilian Football Association and was in charge of organizing the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The 83-year old FIFA official agreed to be extradited last week. If convicted, he could receive a 20-year sentence on racketeering charges. Five FIFA officials remaining Swiss authorities arrested the Brazilian in a raid on a luxury Zurich hotel late May, along with six other high-ranking FIFA officials. The raid triggered a large-scale scandal that eventually prompted the FIFA head Sepp Blatter to announce his intention to step down. The US authorities claim that the FIFA executives were involved in a long-running corruption scheme, with a total value allegedly reaching $151 million (138 million euros). Former FIFA vice president Jeffrey Webb, who also presided over the North, Central American and Caribbean football body CONCACAF, was also among those arrested in Zurich. He has also agreed to his extradition, and pleaded not guilty in front of a New York court in July. The remaining five executives are still in Switzerland, waiting for the transfer to the US.

Switzerland has handed over former Brazilian football chief Jose Maria Marin to US authorities. Marin is one of the seven FIFA executives arrested on bribery charges during the large Zurich raid. Marin left Switzerland on Tuesday to face graft charges in the US, the Swiss justice ministry (FOJ) said in Bern. “He was handed over to two US police officers ... Read More »

FIFA ethics board to call for Blatter’s 90-day suspension, reports say

FIFA President Sepp Blatter could face a provisional suspension for 90 days by the organization's Ethics Committee, according to media reports. A final decision on Blatter's immediate fate is expected this week. Klaus Stöhlker, who has advised Blatter in the past, told journalists the Ethics Committee called for the 90-day provisional suspension pending further investigations by the Swiss attorney general. "There is no final decision, this is a recommendation from the lower part of the Ethics Committee to the upper part," Stöhlker said, according to Reuters news agency. The decision by the committee still needs to be ratified by the adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee, which is led by German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert. "President Blatter will be in his office at FIFA tomorrow," Stöhlker said. Blatter is under criminal investigation in Switzerland regarding a television contract and an alleged "disloyal payment" in 2011 of 2 million Swiss francs (today worth $2 million, 1.8 million euros) to UEFA President Michel Platini. Both have denied any wrongdoing. Major sponsors have called on Blatter to step down from his office. However, the 79-year-old FIFA chief has insisted he will not resign .

FIFA President Sepp Blatter could face a provisional suspension for 90 days by the organization’s Ethics Committee, according to media reports. A final decision on Blatter’s immediate fate is expected this week. Klaus Stöhlker, who has advised Blatter in the past, told journalists the Ethics Committee called for the 90-day provisional suspension pending further investigations by the Swiss attorney general. ... Read More »

Coca-Cola, McDonald’s call for Sepp Blatter’s resignation

Several of FIFA's biggest sponsors have called for president Sepp Blatter to step down. The turn marks yet another blow to world soccer's governing organization; Blatter is being investigated on charges of corruption. Led by Coca-Cola, a host of major football sponsors called for FIFA President Sepp Blatter to resign on Friday. McDonald's, Visa and Budweiser all released statements after the soft drink company in what appeared a structured campaign to see change at the top of soccer's governing body. Blatter though, stands firm. Coca-Cola said it was asking for the FIFA head to step down "so that a credible and sustainable reform process can begin in earnest. Every day that passes, the image and reputation of FIFA continues to tarnish. FIFA needs comprehensive and urgent reform, and that can only be accomplished through a truly independent approach," the company statement read. According to Reuters, McDonald's - a FIFA sponsor since 1994 - sent the following statement through in an email: "The events of recent weeks have continued to diminish the reputation of FIFA and public confidence in its leadership." "It would be appropriate for Mr. Blatter to step down as we believe his continued presence to be an obstacle in the reform process," the beer maker said in their statement. Blatter, who is currently under criminal investigation by Swiss authorities for alleged financial wrongdoing at FIFA, will not step down though. His lawyer responded to Coca-Cola's announcement almost immediately with the following, according to a tweet: "While Coca Cola is a valued sponsor of FIFA, Mr. Blatter respectfully disagrees with its position and believes firmly that his leaving office now would not be in the best interest of FIFA nor would it advance the process of reform and therefore, he will not resign." This decision will make for an even bumpier road in the months until February, when a new president will be elected.

Several of FIFA’s biggest sponsors have called for president Sepp Blatter to step down. The turn marks yet another blow to world soccer’s governing organization; Blatter is being investigated on charges of corruption. Led by Coca-Cola, a host of major football sponsors called for FIFA President Sepp Blatter to resign on Friday. McDonald’s, Visa and Budweiser all released statements after ... Read More »

Swiss authorities open criminal proceedings against FIFA’s Sepp Blatter

FIFA President Sepp Blatter faces criminal investigation from Swiss prosecutors, in one of two ongoing probes into FIFA. Two payments, involving Jack Warner and Michel Platini, form the basis of the probe. Swiss federal prosecutors on Friday announced that they had opened criminal proceedings against FIFA president Joseph "Sepp" Blatter "on suspicion of criminal mismanagement" and "suspicion of misappropriation." Investigators believe Blatter signed a contract that was "unfavorable for FIFA" with the Caribbean Football Union [with Jack Warner as the president at this time] back in 2005. In doing so, prosecutors said they suspected that Blatter "violated his fiduciary duties and acted against the interest of FIFA and/or FIFA Marketing and TV AG." The second alleged payment under investigation was to UEFA's current president, Michel Platini, in 2011. "Mr. Joseph Blatter is suspected of a disloyal payment of 2 million Swiss francs (1.8 million euros, $2.04 million)" to Platini, the statement read, saying that the puported payment was "supposedly made for work performed between Janaury 1999 and June 2002." The payment was executed in 2012. FIFA said in a statement that it had been cooperating with the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) since May 27 and has complied with all requests for documents, data and other information. FIFA also faces a separate corruption probe led by authorities in the US. Earlier in the day, FIFA first delayed Sepp Blatter's press conference before calling it off just minutes before it began. With news of criminal proceedings against the FIFA President following soon after, the reasons for canceling the press conference became slightly clearer.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter faces criminal investigation from Swiss prosecutors, in one of two ongoing probes into FIFA. Two payments, involving Jack Warner and Michel Platini, form the basis of the probe. Swiss federal prosecutors on Friday announced that they had opened criminal proceedings against FIFA president Joseph “Sepp” Blatter “on suspicion of criminal mismanagement” and “suspicion of misappropriation.” Investigators ... Read More »

South Korean billionaire Chung Mong-Joon launches bid for FIFA presidency

South Korean billionaire Chung Mong-Joon has launched a bid for the FIFA presidency. Chung attacked both outgoing chief Sepp Blatter and frontrunner Michel Platini, vowing to end corruption in football's governing body. Chung, who officially launched his campaign in Paris, said he needed only one term as FIFA's president to fix the scandal-tainted world football body. "Today FIFA is undergoing a profound crisis. Under these circumstances, the FIFA president must be a crisis manager and a reformer," Chung, a former FIFA vice president and one of the harshest critics of Blatter, told a press conference on Monday. "The problem at FIFA is that those mired in corruption, the only thing they are interested in is hiding the corruption," said Chung, whose family owns parts of the Hyundai conglomerate. "I can change FIFA in four years. That is my pledge to football fans in the world," he vowed. Chung directly attacked outgoing FIFA head Blatter and said it was because of Blatter that FIFA had lost its integrity. "The real reason FIFA has become such a corrupt organization is because the same person [Blatter] has been running it for 40 years," he said, adding that "absolute power corrupts absolutely." Pressure is mounting on FIFA to introduce reforms, in light of the organization's deepening corruption crisis. On May 27, several FIFA officials with arrested in connection to the scandal. At a meeting of the president's group a day after the arrests, Platini urged Blatter - his ally-turned-adversary - to resign. Blatter refused to leave and was re-elected the next day. Within days, however, he announced his resignation at an extraordinary meeting of FIFA's executive committee, now set for February in Zurich. 'Like father like son' The 63-year-old Chung also criticized UEFA's president Platini in his speech and said the former French football star should not run for FIFA's presidency. He said Platini had been too close to the FIFA organization and to Blatter himself. "Michel Platini was a great football player, and he is my friend. His problem is that he does not seem to appreciate the seriousness of the corruption crisis at FIFA," said Chung, adding that Blatter and Platini once had a "father and son" like relationship. The South Korean football official emphasized that it was time to move the FIFA presidency away from Europe and Brazil. "If Europe had provided healthy and discerning leadership, would FIFA be in this kind of mess today? This is not a criticism bit an appeal to you to think." Brazil's football legend, Zico, and former FIFA vice president from Jordan, Prince Ali bin Al Hussein, have also announced their candidacy.

South Korean billionaire Chung Mong-Joon has launched a bid for the FIFA presidency. Chung attacked both outgoing chief Sepp Blatter and frontrunner Michel Platini, vowing to end corruption in football’s governing body. Chung, who officially launched his campaign in Paris, said he needed only one term as FIFA’s president to fix the scandal-tainted world football body. “Today FIFA is undergoing ... Read More »

Platini confirms he wants to succeed Blatter

From February 2016, FIFA will have a new leader and on Wednesday, Frenchman Michel Platini has officially declared himself a possible candidate. The news could also mean something for German FA boss Wolfgang Niersbach. Just one day after reports suggested UEFA President Michel Platini would stand for the FIFA presidency, the 60-year-old Frenchman has confirmed his intention to succeed Sepp Blatter in football's top job. "This was a very personal, carefully considered decision, one in which I weighed up the future of football alongside my own future," read Platini's letter sent to football's governing body and published on the UEFA website on Wednesday afternoon. "There are times in life when you have to take your destiny into your own hands," added Platini. "I am at one of those decisive moments, at a juncture in my life and in events that are shaping the future of FIFA." The three-time Ballon d'Or winner is the first serious contender to announce, with Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan and South Korean politician Chung Mong-joon also rumored to be interested in running. Prince Ali released a statement soon after Platini's announcement with the following sentiment: "Platini is not good for FIFA. Fans & players deserve better. FIFA needs new, independent leadership untainted by past practices A new beginning UEFA boss since 2007, Platini did have a strong friendship with current FIFA President Sepp Blatter. That relationship has been strained of late however, and although Platini said he had defended his ideas and proposals in order to give FIFA the support it needed, now he is ready to speak his mind. Platini believes "recent events force the supreme governing body of world football to turn over a new leaf and rethink its governance." A recent corruption scandal has left FIFA's reputation in tatters and forced Blatter to announce his resignation shortly after being re-elected as president in June. The possible vacancy at UEFA could also be of interest to German FA boss Wolfgang Niersbach, who has been touted as a potential Platini replacement. The FIFA election is on February 26 and would-be candidates must apply by October 26.

From February 2016, FIFA will have a new leader and on Wednesday, Frenchman Michel Platini has officially declared himself a possible candidate. The news could also mean something for German FA boss Wolfgang Niersbach. Just one day after reports suggested UEFA President Michel Platini would stand for the FIFA presidency, the 60-year-old Frenchman has confirmed his intention to succeed Sepp ... Read More »

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