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Home > Sports > News > Reuters > Report

FIFA files lawsuit against Daily Mail

March 19, 2003 14:15 IST

World soccer's governing body FIFA has filed a lawsuit against the Daily Mail claiming libellous comments had been made against the organisation and its president Sepp Blatter.

"FIFA and its president Sepp Blatter have today instructed their lawyers to file lawsuits against Andrew Jennings, a sports writer, and his employers at the Daily Mail," FIFA said in a statement on Tuesday.

The paper made allegations about members of FIFA receiving financial bonuses, but FIFA said they will fight the claims in a British court after instructing lawyers to begin proceedings.

Colin Gibson, the Daily Mail sports editor, told Reuters: "We stand by our story totally, but I can make no further comment until we see exactly what their complaint against us is."

The newspaper had published an apology on Friday relating to previous claims made against FIFA and Blatter in December.

"Last Friday, the newspaper had to publish an apology for a wholly inaccurate article printed in December 2002. Clearly, with today's article, the Daily Mail continues to make libellous comments," said the FIFA statement.

"The governing body is no longer prepared to accept such an underhand approach and has now decided that a British court is the appropriate forum to establish the facts and expose the Daily Mail's fiction."

Last year, Blatter fought a number of claims made against him in the lead up to the FIFA presidential elections in Seoul in May, when he was elected for a second four-year term.

He defeated Issa Hayatou of Cameroon by 139 votes to 56 in the elections on the eve of the World Cup finals in Japan and South Korea.

FIFA's then general secretary Michael Zen-Ruffinen, who compiled a 30-page dossier claiming Blatter was guilty of mismanagement, left FIFA after overseeing the completion of the World Cup finals.

Members of FIFA's executive committee, who had filed a lawsuit against Blatter, then withdrew the charges, only for the Zurich prosecutors to continue the investigation.

But Blatter was cleared of any wrongdoing by Zurich prosecutors in December.

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