ZURICH – Switzerland’s federal prosecutor is about to end its investigation into former FIFA President Sepp Blatter’s deals with the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) to sell World Cup broadcasting rights. The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) said it has informed all the parties of its intention to close the case and was seeking ways to end it. “We confirm the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland …considers the criminal investigation into the partial facts and allegations concerning the contractual relationship with the CFU to be complete and ready for conclusion,” it said in a statement. The OAG “intends to discontinue the proceedings”, it added, giving no reason for the decision. As a result, Blatter, who is currently serving a six-year ban from football-related activities over ethics violations, will not be prosecuted for the matter which relates to selling TV rights for World Cup tournaments too cheaply. The 84-year-old Swiss, who led FIFA until 2015, was accused of selling TV rights to the CFU for the 2010 and 2014 World Cups for $600,000, seen as far below the market value at the time. A spokesman for Blatter said he had not heard anything officially but had no reason to doubt the media reports. In a second criminal case, Blatter is accused of having arranged a payment of two million Swiss francs ($2.06 million) to the then UEFA President Michel Platini in February 2011.
Pakistan keen to host ICC events in 2023-31 cycle
DUBAI – Pakistan have offered to host global flagship tournaments after the International Cricket Council (ICC) invited expression of interest from its members for events in the 2023-31 cycle. Pakistan last staged an ICC event in 1996 when it co-hosted the 50-overs World Cup with India and Sri Lanka and the country has been largely starved of international cricket since a 2009 attack on the touring Sri Lanka team in Lahore. “The PCB has expressed its interest in hosting ICC events during the 2023-31 events cycle,” a Pakistan Cricket Board spokesperson said. “We will work in line with ICC guidelines and look forward to submitting strong proposal in the coming months.” Pakistan played their first test on home soil since 2009 against Sri Lanka in December and have hosted Bangladesh this year. ICC chief executive Manu Sawhney toured several member countries encouraging bids following the governing body’s decision to select hosts of future events through a bidding process.
“We are extremely encouraged with the positive response we’ve received for the 2023-31 cycle,” an ICC spokesman said. “We have had close to 100 offers with 18 members showing interest in holding the 28 events proposed for the cycle.”