Fifa president Sepp Blatter warded in hospital, under 'tremendous pressure'

FIFA president Sepp Blatter at a news conference in Zurich, Switzerland, in this July 20, 2015 file photo. Mr Blatter has been hospitalised for medical checks but should be discharged shortly, his lawyer has said.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter at a news conference in Zurich, Switzerland, in this July 20, 2015 file photo. Mr Blatter has been hospitalised for medical checks but should be discharged shortly, his lawyer has said.PHOTO: REUTERS

ZURICH • Suspended Fifa president Sepp Blatter is in hospital for medical checks but should be discharged soon, his US lawyer said on Friday.

His former public relations officer, Klaus Stoehlker, said the 79-year-old Swiss, who was last month suspended for 90 days by Fifa's ethics committee, was under "tremendous pressure from so many sides". He said he was suffering from stress but was at home.

Later, however, Blatter's lawyer Richard Cullen issued a statement saying: "I am announcing that president Blatter is in the hospital for a medical check-up. He is fine and expects to be home shortly."

Fifa has been in turmoil since 14 football officials and sports marketing executives were indicted by the United States in May. Since then, Swiss authorities have opened their own investigation into Fifa's activities, and the ethics committee has suspended both Blatter and Michel Platini, president of the European governing body Uefa, for 90 days.

"He (Blatter) is under medical evaluation, the doctors took him out for a few days, they expect him to be back (in circulation) around Thursday or Friday of next week," said Stoehlker.

"Being under tremendous pressure is a little bit difficult for a man who is not the youngest... I saw him this morning and he will recover."

Blatter, who often impresses observers with his boundless energy, has been Fifa president since 1998.

He won a fifth mandate in May but performed an about-turn four days later.

He announced he was stepping down and called a new Congress, which will take place in Zurich in February to choose his successor.

In September, the Swiss attorney general's office initiated criminal proceedings against him over a two million Swiss franc (S$2.83 million) payment from Fifa to Platini in 2011 for work carried out by the Frenchman between 1998 and 2002.

Both men, who are suspended pending a full investigation, have denied any wrongdoing. Blatter has said he still hopes to take part in the congress in February.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 08, 2015, with the headline 'Blatter warded in hospital, under 'tremendous pressure''. Print Edition | Subscribe