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FIFA scandal: Europe's UEFA should consider World Cup boycott to oust Sepp Blatter, UK says

Europe should consider boycotting future World Cups if Sepp Blatter does not quit as head of football's governing body over a corruption scandal, Britain's sport minister says.
The Swiss-born FIFA chief complained on Sunday he had been shown "zero respect" in recent days, revealing how he had rejected advice from one of his main critics, the head of the European governing body, to quit at last week's FIFA congress.
John Whittingdale, the British government minister with overall responsibility for sport, renewed calls for Blatter to step aside on Monday morning, saying all options should be considered when it came to pressuring him to resign, including boycotting the World Cup - something that could split the sport and be calamitous for the tournament.
Meanwhile at least two British-based banks are conducting internal reviews of the movement of funds by FIFA officials through their branches.
A US investigation mentioned two payments cleared by Standard Chartered.
"We are looking into those payments and will not be commenting further at this time," a spokesman for the London-based bank said.
Other banks named on the indictment, including Britain's Barclays, are making internal checks on their involvement and cooperating with the authorities, banking sources said.
Barclays and another British-based bank HSBC declined to comment.
Blatter, 79, won a vote on Friday to serve a fifth term as FIFA president even though the US department of justice has charged nine football officials with corruption and Swiss authorities are conducting their own criminal investigation.
Seven senior football officials were arrested in a dawn raid before the FIFA congress in Zurich, and US authorities have said altogether nine officials and five sports media and promotions executives have been charged in cases involving more than $US150 million in bribes over a period of 24 years.
Blatter has played down the impact of the scandal on one of the world's most powerful sports bodies, which takes in billions of dollars in revenue from TV marketing rights and sponsorships.
He is not accused of any wrongdoing personally and has implied that the United States timed news of the charges to try to scupper his re-election.
Asked how he had coped with the criticism in the past few days, he told the Swiss newspaper Sonntagsblick: "Let me put it this way: I've been shown zero respect."
Blatter's future could yet depend on the reaction of FIFA's major sponsors and stakeholders such as Coca-Cola and McDonald's, who have been dismayed by the arrests and US prosecutors announcing indictments of officials and companies.
Britain's Sunday Times newspaper reported Swiss prosecutors would question Blatter, who has led FIFA for nearly 20 years, as part of a criminal investigation into votes to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively.
A spokesman for Switzerland's attorney-general dismissed the possibility of immediately calling in Blatter as "nonsense".
"The president of FIFA will not be questioned at this point in time," the spokesman said.
However, he added: "If need be, he will be questioned in the future."
Russia and Qatar deny wrongdoing in their bids.


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