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FIFA President Blatter to face criminal charges

Switzerland's attorney general opened criminal proceedings against FIFA president Sepp Blatter on Friday, saying world soccer's most powerful man will be charged with "suspicion of criminal mismanagement and misappropriation."

Blatter, 79, who has run FIFA since 1998, denied any wrongdoing. He was questioned by Swiss authorities, and FIFA is cooperating with the investigation.

The case involves a contract Blatter signed in 2005 that assigned World Cup TV rights to the control of an indicted former FIFA official, Jack Warner. That contract, excerpts of which were posted on the website of Swiss broadcaster SRF two weeks ago, awarded Warner's Caribbean Football Union the rights to the 2010 and '14 World Cups for $600,000. Warner then licensed those rights and sold them for $20 million.

In 2011, when Warner left FIFA after being implicated in a bribery scheme, he said FIFA gave him cheap World Cup rights in exchange for helping Blatter win re-election as president.

Warner, who is from Trinidad and Tobago, was charged by U.S. authorities in May as part of a 47-count indictment brought against nine high-ranking soccer officials and five sports marketers. The 14 were charged with racketeering, wire fraud and corruption, among other offenses — many of the charges stemming from the sale of broadcast and sponsorship rights.

Swiss authorities also said Blatter is suspected of making a "disloyal payment" of $2.04 million in 2011 to Michel Platini, president of European governing body UEFA. Platini, a former Blatter ally turned rival, is a leading candidate to succeed Blatter as FIFA president in special elections scheduled for February. The payment was made for work done between 1999 and 2002.

World Cup: The dates for the 2022 even in Qatar were set, with the opening match Nov. 21 and the final on Dec. 18.

Neymar case: A Brazilian court froze assets of Barcelona star Neymar, his family and related businesses valued at $48 million). The Sao Paulo federal court said Neymar, 23, is alleged to have evaded almost $16 million in taxes from 2011-13.


Clippers sign two

The Clippers signed free agent forward Luc Mbah a Moute and forward-center Nikoloz Tskitishvili. Mbah a Moute, who played in high school at Montverde Academy in Lake County, averaged 9.9 points and 4.9 rebounds in 67 games for Philadelphia last season.

Bulls: Small forward Mike Dunleavy will miss 8-10 weeks after having lower back surgery.

Et cetera

Boxing: Wladimir Klitschko pulled out of his heavyweight title defense against Tyson Fury because of a torn tendon in his left calf. The fight had been set for Oct. 24 in Duesseldorf, Germany.

Tennis: Top seed Stan Wawrinka (ankle injury) withdrew from the Open de Moselle in Metz, France, with an ankle injury. … Top seed Caroline Wozniacki overcame No. 5 Angelique Kerber 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 to reach the semifinals of the Toray Pan-Pacific Open in Tokyo.

Cycling: Americans Chloe Dygert and Emma White ran 1-2 in the junior road race at the world championships in Richmond, Va.

Times wires

Sports in brief 09/25/15 [Last modified: Friday, September 25, 2015 10:22pm]
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