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Thursday, 30 May, 2002, 14:17 GMT 15:17 UK
Blatter set to sack critic
Zen-Ruffinen was an ally of Blatter but is now one of his sternest critics
Blatter is expected to dismiss Zen-Ruffinen
Fifa president Sepp Blatter is set to dismiss the World Cup's chief organiser Michel Zen-Ruffinen just hours before the tournament begins.

Blatter won a second term as Fifa president on Wednesday, defeating Cameroonian Issa Hayatou by a landslide margin.


On Friday, the executive committee is going to take care of `Mr Clean'
Sepp Blatter on Michel Zen-Ruffinen
And he has called a meeting of Fifa's executive committee for Friday at which Zen-Ruffinen is expected to be removed from his post.

Zen-Ruffinen - Fifa's general secretary - is a fierce critic of Blatter's dictatorial style.

He produced a range of allegations into Fifa's management, including misleading accountancy practices, evidence of conflict of interest and suggestions that there could be a criminal investigation into some of the activities.

And Blatter - buoyed by his re-election - has had enough.

"Friday, I throw Zen-Ruffinen out the door," Blatter told Swiss newspaper Blick.

"On Friday, the executive committee is going to take care of `Mr Clean'.

"Now it is finished. The last negative comments by Zen-Ruffinen after my re-election were the last straw."

According to a Fifa spokesman there are only two items on the agenda for Friday's meeting - Zen-Ruffinen's position and that of his assistant Jon Doviken, who is also likely to be dismissed.

Until now Zen-Ruffinen has been protected by his allies on the executive committee - but the recent election of two of Blatter's supporters to the committee leaves him exposed.

Celebration

Zen-Ruffinen, who was initially expected to leave the organisation at the end of the tournament, remains defiant.

"I want to celebrate the World Cup. We have been working under my leadership for six years and for me it's my World Cup," said Zen-Ruffinen.

"I hope it's a tremendous success and we prove we are one good team."

Spotlight on Fifa president Sepp Blatter

Blatter re-elected

Build-up to vote

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