Image:FIFA’s suspended president Sepp Blatter leaves after a news conference in Zurich, Switzerland, December 21, 2015. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
By Simon Evans
MIAMI (Reuters) – FIFA’s Sepp Blatter may have been banned for eight years from the game but he is still receiving his president’s salary from world soccer’s governing body, a spokesman for FIFA’s Audit and Compliance Committee told Reuters on Monday.
Blatter was suspended for 90 days by FIFA on Oct 8 and then banned from the game for eight years last month for ethics violations over a $2 million payment FIFA made to European soccer boss Michel Platini with Blatter’s approval in 2011.
But Blatter, a Swiss national who has been president of FIFA since 1998, will continue to be paid until a new president is elected on Feb 26, the spokesman Andreas Bantel said. That would mean Blatter would have been paid for nearly five months during which time he was unable to carry out his duties, and a period in which FIFA has appointed an acting president, African soccer head Issa Hayatou.
The compensation sub-committee of FIFA’s Audit and Compliance Committee recently ruled that it could stop Blatter’s bonuses but not, according to his contract, his salary.
“Until the election of a new president on February 26, Mr Blatter is the elected president and therefore – according to his contract – is entitled to receive his remuneration,” Bantel said.
Blatter’s U.S. lawyer and his Switzerland-based spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment.
FIFA is facing the worst corruption crisis in it history as a total of 41 individuals and entities, including many former FIFA officials, have been charged with corruption-related offences in the United States. The U.S. investigation is far from over and FIFA also faces a parallel Swiss probe.
Blatter’s bonuses have been stopped because he was not carrying out his duties of supervising the organisation, including its general secretary.
Only last week, FIFA announced that Jerome Valcke was fired from his position as general secretary. It gave no reason but an investigation had followed allegations of corruption related to World Cup ticket sales.
COMPENSATION A SECRET
“The duty of supervision is listed explicitly in the target agreements for the payment of bonuses. The compensation committee has therefore decided, at its last meeting, not to make any further bonus payments to Mr Blatter,” said Bantel.
The size of Blatter’s compensation from FIFA has remained secret although reforms to be voted on at the organisation’s February Congress call for the disclosure of individual compensation for the president and top executives.
It is also unclear what Hayatou is getting paid to be acting president.
FIFA’s finances may have taken a blow in the past year because of the costs and distractions of the corruption scandal. According to a report from the UK’s Press Association late last year, the organisation suffered its first loss last year’since 2001.
Bantel declined to discuss what proportion of Blatter’s payments came from his bonuses.
The FIFA Ethics Committee said the payment to Platini, made at a time when Blatter was seeking re-election, lacked transparency and presented conflicts of interest, though both men denied any wrongdoing. Platini has also been banned from soccer for eight years.
Both Blatter and Platini have said they will appeal against their bans.
(Reporting By Simon Evans; Editing by Martin Howell)
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