FIFA has issued a complaint of “criminal mismanagement” against its former president Sepp Blatter, the PA news agency understands.
The complaint has been sent to the Zurich prosecutor, and relates to the involvement of Blatter and other former officials at the world governing body in the FIFA museum project in the same city.
In documents seen by the PA news agency, FIFA states: “Following a detailed review of historic facts and circumstances concerning the construction and on-going operational costs of the FIFA Museum, FIFA has become aware of many serious irregularities regarding this project, which raise strong suspicions of criminal misconduct on the part of various different officials and companies associated with the matter.
“As a result, FIFA is now duty-bound to refer the matter to the Zurich prosecutor’s office for further investigation and, if necessary, prosecution.
“The criminal complaint filed by FIFA is directed against various members of the former FIFA management, including former president Joseph Blatter, as well as further ‘unknown’ potential suspects. It is suspected that these individuals may have been involved in various acts of criminal mismanagement, and possibly other related offences.”
The museum project began in 2013.
Two years later, amid a corruption scandal, Blatter announced his resignation from the FIFA presidency after 17 years in the role.
The documents allege the project was “deliberately mismanaged”, and points to the decision to put 140 million Swiss francs (€129 million) into a building FIFA did not own, to lock FIFA into a rental agreement with the building’s owner – insurance firm Swiss Life – until at least 2045 costing it a further 360 million Swiss francs (€332 million), and the failure to consider other any other suitable properties.
The documents state that the former management of FIFA “repeatedly misled different FIFA bodies as to the cost and viability of the project”, including the existence of alternative sites.
It also alleges “grave conflicts of interest” and “suspected nepotism” in relation to the project.
It is understood the matter will also be brought to the attention of FIFA’s independent ethics committee.