World soccer's governing body is reported to be about to suspend its president in light of corruption allegations. FIFA boss Sepp Blatter has said he would fight any move to remove him before he steps down.
The Swiss and New York-based lawyers representing the FIFA president issued a statement late on Wednesday in which they asserted that Sepp Blatter had not been contacted by the panel that is said to be considering imposing an 90-day suspension on him.
"President Blatter has not been notified of any action taken by the FIFA Ethics Committee," the statement released by Lorenz Erni and Richard Cullen said. They added that so far, he had not been given the opportunity to counter the allegations against him.
"We would expect that the Ethics Committee would want to hear from the President and his counsel, and conduct a thorough review of the evidence, before making any recommendation to take disciplinary action."
While Blatter may not yet have been officially informed by the committee, he was aware of the process, according to a close associate of the FIFA president, Klaus Stöhlker.
"Blatter has heard that from several sources," Stöhler told the Associated Press. "He has not got any message from the committee ... and he is perfectly under control. He is going to the office tomorrow (Thursday)."
This comes after Swiss authorities announced that they had launched a criminal investigation into some of Blatter's alleged dealings.
Blatter is being investigated over a contract signed with the Caribbean Football Union over television rights which was allegedly "unfavourable for FIFA." He is also suspected of having made a "disloyal payment" to UEFA President Michel Platini which was "at the expense of FIFA."
Both Blatter and Platini, have denied any wrongdoing.
Any decision by the Ethics Committee would have to be ratified by its adjudicatory chamber, which is chaired by German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert. A decision is expected by Friday at the latest
Fifth term to be cut short
Blatter was elected for a fifth term as FIFA president back in May despite a major storm over a US corruption investigation. A few days later, the 79-year-old Swiss national announced that he would step down when an early election to choose his successor was held. The date for that vote has since been set for Feburary 26.
Despite the mounting pressure on him to relinquish his post before that, including calls from FIFA's major sponsors, Blatter has vowed to stay the course.
"I will fight until February 26. For me. And for FIFA," he told the German magazine "Bunte."
"I am convinced that evil will come into the light and good will triumph," he added.
pfd/msh (dpa, AP)