Francois Carrad, head of the FIFA reform committee, said that longtime FIFA president Sepp Blatter has been unfairly criticized because there is no evidence of his involvement in corruption, reports Reuters.
Carrad said Blatter's inclusion in the public perception of FIFA's corruption, despite not facing any charges, is a result of his leading the organization for many years. In June, Blatter announced that he would resign after nearly 18 years as FIFA's president.
“There is something unfair in the way he is treated. I say that with complete independence. We are in the process of pillorying him. Unfortunately, it's always like that when somebody stays too long, the negative side gets noticed,” said Carrard, who is being paid by FIFA for his role as committee chief.
“This man has been unfairly treated,” Carrad continued. “And if we talk about corruption... I have the whole U.S. proceedings on my table. In the indictment, there is not one word against him. Nothing. Today I am not aware of any indication of corruption against Blatter.”
Carrad, a Swiss lawyer and former director general of the International Olympic Committee, was chosen to head a 15-person committee whose objective is to reform an organization accused of decades of corruption after the United States Justice Department opened an investigation and charged top officials within FIFA with racketeering, money laundering and wire fraud. The committee will have its first meeting on Sept. 2.
- Erin Flynn