The confidential report by FIFA secretary general Michel Zen-Ruffinen accusing beleaguered FIFA president Sepp Blatter of financial mismanagement was described as explosive here on Friday
Zen-Ruffinen began delivering his report to an emergency executive committee at FIFA House on Friday and seven hours after the meeting began they were still locked in debate over the details.
Leading Blatter critic Chung Mong-Joon, who left the meeting to catch an evening plane back to Seoul, said Zen-Ruffinen’s report had stunned several of the 24-strong executive committee.
« One member of the committee described it as a bombshell, » said Chung.
When Blatter arrived for the meeting he brought along his lawyer but the executive committee demanded that he leave the meeting.
For supporters of African football chief and executive committee member Issa Hayatou, who is standing in the presidential battle against Blatter, Friday’s meeting was their last chance to try and force Blatter to withdraw his candidature or so weaken him that he will lose the May 29 election in Seoul.
Hayatou, along with Chung and European football boss Lennart Johansson, have bitterly accused Blatter of leading FIFA towards bankruptcy – charges denied by the 66-year-old Blatter who insists the finances of football’s governing world body are sound.
Friday’s showdown at FIFA House was called after Blatter dramatically halted last month an independent inquiry into FIFA’s finances.
The probe, headed by FIFA vice-president David Will, was ordered by the executive committee to allay fears that FIFA was heading for financial disaster following the billion dollar bankrupcy of marketing partners ISL.
Blatter defended his decision.
« In order to guarantee and to protect the interests of FIFA and the FIFA Executive Committee, I have to suspend the work of the FIFA Internal Audit Committee pending an investigation into a breach of confidentiality and the way documents, which have been given to members of the committee, have been handled, » he explained.
Zen-Ruffinen’s report is considered the key to toppling Blatter.
Zen-Ruffinen, who is almost certain to be sacked if Blatter is re-elected for another four years at the FIFA congress, said recently; « For several months, I have noticed problems with the working of FIFA’s financial procedures. »
« The statutes state that all decisions in this area must be checked by my office. Yet I know that some of them were taken without consulting me.
« I don’t know their exact nature – are they legitimate or not? – but it’s clear that the regulations were not respected, either by the president himself, or by the director of finances, » he added.
« For the past four years I have been rigorous in managing my work.
« Whatever happens from now on, I refuse to be swept away by a potential scandal which I had nothing to do with, » he added.