June 12, 2006

FIFA denies bribery allegations

BERLIN (Reuters) - FIFA has strongly denied allegations of
bribery and corruption made in the BBC television programme
Panorama on Sunday night.

In a wide-ranging investigation into world soccer's
governing body, reporter Andrew Jennings said that senior FIFA
officials including president Sepp Blatter and his predecessor
Joao Havelange had abused their positions in relation to their
former, and now defunct, commercial partner, International
Sport and Leisure (ISL).

Jennings has written a book on the subject: "Foul! The
Secret World of FIFA: Bribes, Vote Rigging and Ticket

In a statement on Monday, FIFA said: "There are specific
allegations by the BBC programme Panorama that FIFA and its
president take exception to, which does not mean that any of
the other points raised are acceptable to FIFA, or true.

"As confirmed by the relevant authorities it is completely
false and defamatory to claim that either the FIFA president or
FIFA are the subject of a bribery probe by Swiss police.

"The fact is that FIFA is the victim of ISL's
irregularities. FIFA looks forward to the final proceedings by
the Swiss courts which it continues to support."