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Blatter Back at Work at FIFA HQ, Due to Address Staff

  • Associated Press

FILE - FIFA President Sepp Blatter addresses during the preliminary draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup at Konstantin Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia July 25, 2015.

FILE - FIFA President Sepp Blatter addresses during the preliminary draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup at Konstantin Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia July 25, 2015.

Sepp Blatter was due to address FIFA staff on Monday, three days after being interrogated by Swiss investigators at the scandal-battered governing body's headquarters.

The president was scheduled to speak around 4:00 p.m. local time alongside FIFA directors at a staff meeting, which is being characterized as a regular gathering that takes place at least once a month rather than being the stage for a sudden announcement.

It comes as Blatter awaits a possible announcement from the FIFA ethics committee on whether he will be suspended as a result of the Swiss investigation into possible criminal mismanagement and misappropriation of FIFA money.

But the 79-year-old Blatter was back in his office that was raided on Friday, attempting to continue running FIFA while embroiled in a criminal investigation.

“There is a meeting this afternoon,” Blatter adviser Klaus Stoehlker told The Associated Press. “He's giving them (staff) information at 4:00 p.m.”

Stoehlker formally worked with Blatter on his campaign ahead of the May election to govern FIFA and said he continues to advise him. They spoke over the weekend, said Stoehlker, who does not work at FIFA.

“Twenty four hours ago he had no idea (plan) about leaving (FIFA),” Stoehlker said in a telephone interview. “There are so many lawyers and it depends what they say and what kind of risks they are putting on the wall.”

Blatter is due to hand over power in February when an emergency election is held, triggered by the president's resignation statement four days after being re-elected for a fifth, four-year term in May.

FILE - UEFA President Michel Platini delivers his speech during a press conference after the soccer Europa League draw ceremony at the Grimaldi Forum, in Monaco, Aug. 28, 2015.

FILE - UEFA President Michel Platini delivers his speech during a press conference after the soccer Europa League draw ceremony at the Grimaldi Forum, in Monaco, Aug. 28, 2015.

There was silence on Monday from UEFA President Michel Platini, who was the favorite to succeed Blatter before he too became embroiled in the scandal last week.

Blatter was questioned by Swiss investigators on Friday about why FIFA paid 2 million Swiss francs (about $2 million) to Platini in 2011 for work supposedly carried out at least nine years earlier. Blatter denied wrongdoing and Platini was only questioned as a witness.

Blatter is also suspected of awarding undervalued World Cup broadcasting rights to former vice president Jack Warner in 2005.

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