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FIFA files criminal complaint against Sepp Blatter over football museum losses

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By Everton Gayle  & AP
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FIFA said its criminal complaint following an external audit of the project
FIFA said its criminal complaint following an external audit of the project   -   Copyright  Christophe Ena/Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

FIFA has filed a criminal complaint against former president Sepp Blatter over the finances of its loss-making football museum in Zurich.

The football organisation's governing body said on Tuesday it suspected “criminal mismanagement by FIFA’s former management and companies appointed by them” in work on the museum - long seen as a pet project of Blatter’s - in a renovated and rented city-centre building.

The FIFA World Football Museum opened in 2016 after €115 million was spent refurbishing the 1970s office building to also include 34 rental apartments.

It was meant to open around May 2015, when Blatter won a fifth presidential election but was delayed until after he left office amid pressure from American and Swiss investigations of international football officials.

Blatter committed FIFA to a rental contract with the building’s owner, insurance firm Swiss Life, that requires paying €295 million through 2045 at above-market rates, football’s world body said.

FIFA said its criminal complaint following an external audit of the project was delivered by hand to canton (state) prosecutors in Zurich.

“That audit revealed a wide range of suspicious circumstances and management failures, some of which may be criminal in nature and which therefore need to be properly investigated by the relevant authorities,” FIFA deputy secretary-general for administration Alasdair Bell said in a statement.

Blatter, who resigned over a corruption scandal in 2015, has denied any wrongdoing.