FORMER president of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), Sepp Blatter has called for the suspension of his successor, Gianni Infantino, by the global football body after criminal proceedings were opened against Infantino in Switzerland.
Swiss authorities said on Thursday that proceedings had been launched against the current FIFA boss by a special prosecutor looking into meetings he had with the Swiss Attorney-General, Michael Lauber.
Lauber and Infantino have, however, denied any wrongdoing.
“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, 84, said in a statement to Reuters.
FIFA did not immediately reply to a request for comments on Blatter’s statement.
Blatter, who was FIFA president for 17 years, himself was suspended and later banned by FIFA’s ethics committee after he became the subject of criminal proceedings in Switzerland in 2015.
The investigation is still ongoing and Blatter, who has denied any wrongdoing, has not been charged.
It centred on a payment of two million Swiss francs (1.6 million pounds) made in 2011 to then Union of European Football Association (UEFA) President Michel Platini with Blatter’s approval.
Both Blatter and Platini have insisted the payment was for work the Frenchman had done a decade earlier.
Blatter was banned for eight years, but the sentence was reduced to six on appeal, and Platini also for eight years, and reduced to four.
Michel Platini also denied any wrongdoing.
The FIFA ethics committee is divided into an investigatory and an adjudicatory chamber, which since 2017 have been headed by Colombian Maria Claudia Rojas and Greek Vassilios Skouris respectively.
They replaced Swiss Cornel Borbely and German Hans-Joachim Eckert who were ousted when the decision-making FIFA Council decided not to renew their mandates.(Reuters/NAN)