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Friday, 8 March, 2002, 07:55 GMT
Blatter isolated by Fifa probe
Fifa president Sepp Blatter
Blatter suffered a rare defeat over Fifa's cash problems
Opponents of Fifa president Sepp Blatter have won their fight for an investigation into the financial affairs of football's world governing body.

The decision was taken after an emergency meeting of Fifa's executive committee in Zurich.

The investigating committee will be set up to look into the state of Fifa's finances and the handling of the collapse of former marketing partners ISL.

It may also look into allegations that supporters of Blatter paid cash for votes before his 1998 election.

Britain's Fifa representative David Will is expected to be appointed to the committee.

BBC Sports News correspondent Gordon Farquhar said the move was a "significant victory" for Blatter's critics.


It was a good meeting. I am satisfied
Uefa president Lennart Johansson
Fifa general secretary Michel Zen-Ruffinen said in a statement: "After a very long meeting the Fifa executive committee have decided to create an internal ad-hoc audit committee.

"Full details about the committee will be given on Saturday."

The move is a major blow for Blatter, who resisted the creation of such a committee.

He only agreed to the emergency meeting under pressure from the majority of the 24-strong executive.

Now the next battle will be over the make-up of the committee - whether the majority are supporters of the president, opponents or are independent.

Bankruptcy

Lennart Johansson, Uefa president and a Fifa vice-president, has been one of Blatter's fiercest critics.

He emerged from the meeting and would say only: "It was a good meeting. I am satisfied."

The bankruptcy of ISL, a subsidiary of the International Sports Media and Marketing group, which negotiated Fifa's television and sponsorship deals, led to the cancellation of last year's World Club Championship in Spain and forced Fifa to set up its own in-house marketing unit.

Blatter insists the collapse cost Fifa around 22m.

But there have been claims the true damage could be as much as 10 times that.

Before the meeting, Blatter had gone on the offensive.


Fifa's finances are very sound
Finance chairman Julio Grondona
In a pre-emptive strike, he ordered the step of publicising the decision by Fifa's finance committee to ratify an audit and this year's budget.

Finance committee chairman Julio Grondona explained the decision in a statement on Fifa's website.

"I am satisfied that the committee passed all its decisions unanimously and corroborated all the information provided by Fifa since the opening of bankruptcy proceedings against ISL," he said.

"Fifa's finances are very sound and, with provisions of 367m Swiss francs assured at the end of 2001, it is certain that we will amply cover all current and future risks and any other unexpected expenses."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Gordon Farquhar
"Perhaps some kind of compromise has been reached"
Fifa general secretary Michel Zen-Ruffinen
"Fifa executive committee have decided to create an internal ad-hoc audit committee"
 VOTE RESULTS
Is it time for Sepp Blatter to quit Fifa?

Yes
 88.98% 

No
 11.02% 

7768 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion
Spotlight on Fifa president Sepp Blatter

Blatter re-elected

Build-up to vote

Features

INTERNET LINK
See also:

17 Jan 02 |  Cup of Nations
Blatter promises 2010 to Africa
09 Jan 02 |  World Cup 2002
Blatter to stand again
26 Sep 01 |  Football
Blatter in doping claim
25 Jan 02 |  Football
Johansson turns up heat on Fifa
28 Feb 02 |  Africa
Africa's iron man
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