PtG Article 23.02.2007

FIFA president talks about his salary and denies bribery repayment

A verdict from a court in Lichtenstein obtained by the Play the Game documents that it was a representative for FIFA who repaid bribes money in the amount of 2.5 million Swiss Francs to the insolvent estate of sports marketing company ISL. But despite the documentation FIFA president Sepp Blatter still denies any knowledge of the payment in an interview with a Swiss newspaper.

The liquidator of ISL discovered that sports officials including FIFA officials received bribes from the company and demanded that they were paid back to the insolvent estate. 2.5 million Swiss Francs were repaid but a court order from the Swiss Federal High Court prevented details of the deal being handed over to the magistrate investigating FIFA.

The Swiss authorities are still trying to find out whether FIFA was mainly channelling the money back on behalf of the guilty men to help conceal their identities, or if FIFA repaid the money so the bribe-takers could hang on their money. And the verdict from a Lichtenstein court helps investigators in the sense that it states clearly that the case ” involves the payment of 2.5 Million Swiss Francs by a FIFA representative.”

It is a good question who that representative was but it is not one that FIFA president Sepp Blatter was happy to answer when it was put to him recently by the Swiss newspaper, SonntagsZeitung.

“We have not paid anything. Neither the FIFA president, the secretary general, the Finance Committee or the Executive Committee know anything about it. I would have known if it had happened. Our bookkeeping is clean. God help you if you want to attack the financial affairs of FIFA,” he said.

Reporter Andrew Jennings has been investigating FIFA for years and he does not believe Blatter when he says that no one in FIFA knew of the repayment.

“It was a representative for FIFA. A representative acts on instructions. We are not talking about buying an ice cream here but about millions,” he says to Play the Game. 

Blatter answers questions on his salary

The recent interview in SonntagsZeitung was noteworthy for another reason. For the first time Sepp Blatter chose to answer questions about how much he is paid by FIFA to be president.

“I do not get a salary but get compensation. I am a pensioner. I am paid one million dollars. That is appropriate for an executive president. FIFA represents great values not only financially,” he told the newspaper.

Andrew Jennings has been trying for years to get Blatter to reveal his income from FIFA and Play the Game has also asked direct questions without getting answers.

“I want to see audited tax declarations from the Swiss tax authorities to believe any figure from Blatter. In 1998 he denied having received any expenses from FIFA but when I got hold of the documents there were expenses for about 30.000 British pounds. I have documented all of that in my recent book Foul!” Jennings says.

In 2003, Jennings exposed that Sepp Blatter received a secret annual payment of around 250,000 British pounds a year on top of his generous salary and perks and said he had documents that indicated that the FIFA president has received the huge undisclosed payment since 1997.

According to Jennings, in 2003 Blatter was believed to earn more than 900,000 British pounds a year basic pay in addition to a guaranteed 160,000 British pounds a year expenses and tax free allowances worth an estimated 46,500 British pounds.