In an edition of the broadcaster’s Panorama programme, to be aired in the UK on Monday evening, reporter Andrew Jennings says that he has seen a letter obtained by America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation which throws into question Blatter’s role in a bribery scheme first exposed back in 2010.
At the time, sports marketing company ISL was found to have paid a total of $100m in bribes to officials including former FIFA president Joao Havelange and ex-FIFA executive Ricardo Teixeira.
In return, the company gained exclusive FIFA television and marketing rights throughout the 1990s. In 2013, a FIFA ethics committee inquiry cleared Blatter of any wrongdoing in the episode, accepting he was unaware of any of the bribes Havelange and Teixeira received.
The letter, reportedly written by the disgraced Havelange, says that Blatter had “full knowledge of all activities” and was “always apprised” of them.
In October Blatter, his UEFA counterpart Michel Platini and FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke were for provisionally banned for 90 days in the wake of a Swiss criminal investigation into widespread corruption throughout football’s governing body over the past 20 years, involving bids for the right to host World Cups as well as marketing and broadcast deals.
The investigation kicked off in May when Swiss authorities raided Zurich’s Baur au Lac hotel as the leaders of FIFA gathered for their annual meeting. Those arrested included vice presidents Jeffrey Webb and Eugenio Figueredo, former executive committee member Jack Warner and Costa Rica federation president Eduardo Li.
“The indictment alleges corruption that is rampant, systemic and deep-rooted both abroad and here in the United States,” U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said at the time.
“It spans at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks.”