NEW YORK • Sepp Blatter, the president of football's world governing body Fifa, will not travel to Vancouver for Sunday's final of the Women's World Cup for personal reasons, according to his United States-based lawyer Richard Cullen.
The specific reasons for the Swiss' decision were not revealed, but some lawyers with experience in international criminal cases said that the 79-year-old would be ill-advised to travel after an indictment announced on May 27 by US prosecutors against nine current and former Fifa officials and five sports marketing businessmen.
The prosecutors have not accused Blatter of any wrongdoing but his stewardship of Fifa is under scrutiny, even though he insisted again yesterday that he is not guilty of corruption.
"Anyone who accuses me of being corrupt must first of all prove it to me," he told German magazine Bunte. "No one can do that because I am not corrupt."
He added that he has no time for unfounded, libellous accusations.
"I like to accept correct and constructive criticism, but when someone says Blatter is corrupt, because Fifa is corrupt, then I can only shake my head," he said.
"Anyone who says something like that without evidence should be put in prison."
Cullen said that Fifa's senior vice-president Issa Hayatou of Cameroon would preside at the trophy ceremony after the final in Vancouver instead.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE