Home / Sports / Comedian throws money at Sepp Blatter at election presser

Comedian throws money at Sepp Blatter at election presser

For years, Sepp Blatter has made real money rain down on his FIFA partners, but Monday was his turn to get showered with fake cash.

As the 79-year-old Blatter faced the media at FIFA’s opulent headquarters in Zurich, British comedian Simon Brodkin approached the dais with handfuls of phony bills and a speech that referenced North Korea and the 2026 World Cup tournament. He threw the wad of cash in the air above the scowling Blatter before security hustled the prankster away.


The incident came on the heels of a summit meeting of leaders of soccer’s scandal-ravaged governing body, where FIFA’s executive committee gathered to explore solutions to the corruption investigation that has engulfed the sport. The emergency “Ex-co” meeting came almost two months after the arrest and incarceration of more than a dozen FIFA members and sports marketing executives.

Prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York, working with FBI and IRS agents, introduced charges of bribery, money laundering and racketeering in May. Their prosecution has proceeded with cooperation from the Swiss Federal Office of Justice. Blatter has not been charged, although both countries have promised more arrests to come.

At Monday’s meeting the Ex-co pegged Feb. 26, 2016, for the election of a new FIFA president to replace Blatter, who began his fifth term in the office in June. A round of reforms were proposed at the meeting, including greater transparency about salaries of FIFA officials. When asked Monday what he is paid, Blatter declined to disclose his own salary.

Blatter, who has served as the federation’s president for 17 years, said he will not run again for the FIFA presidency. The organization is due for a major overhaul as several of its vice presidents have been jailed and surviving executives, including Blatter, have curtailed their international travel for fear of being arrested.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter looks on with fake dollars note flying around him throw by a protester during a press conference at the football's world body headquarter's on July 20, 2015 in Zurich. FIFA said Monday that a special election will be held on February 26 to replace president Sepp Blatter. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINIFABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty ImagesFABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images

Fake money swirls around Sepp Blatter as a protester interrupts a press conference announcing a special election to replace Blatter.


Brodkin is a serial prankster often performing under the name Lee Nelson. The comedian also tried to disrupt a performance by Kanye West at the Glastonbury festival in Britain last month. His stunt at FIFA headquarters spoofed on allegations that bribery has influenced FIFA Ex-co votes to determine the location of World Cup tournaments.

The Swiss attorney general is examining scores of bank accounts there suspected of being connected to money laundering. The Swiss probe is focused on the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments to Russia and Qatar, respectively. The site of the 2026 World Cup has not yet been determined.

One of Blatter’s closest allies, former FIFA vice president Jeffrey Webb of the Cayman Islands, was the first of the Ex-co members extradited from Switzerland to the U.S; he appeared in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn Saturday and entered a not guilty plea to 17 felony charges. He was released on $ 10 million bond but is being held under house arrest within 20 miles of the Cadman Plaza courthouse.

Sports marketing executive Aaron Davidson, arrested in the U.S. in May, has also surrendered to authorities and is negotiating a plea agreement with prosecutors.

Among the candidates expected to announce that they will run is European League of Football Association president (UEFA) Michel Platini of France. Candidates will have until October 26 to announce whether they will run. Platini is believed to have the support of four of the six federations who will vote, according to reports.

Sepp Blatter's replacement atop FIFA will be decided on Feb. 26, 2016.Peter Morrison/AP

Sepp Blatter’s replacement atop FIFA will be decided on Feb. 26, 2016.

Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan, who ran against Blatter in May, has joined World Cup sponsor Coke in calling for an independent investigation to leave FIFA reforms and for Blatter to immediately leave his post. It is unclear if Prince Ali will run again.

“The future of FIFA is at stake,” Prince Ali, a FIFA vice president for four years until his run in May, said in a statement to The Associated Press. “If a December election is called, there will not be the meaningful change in the leadership of FIFA that we so desperately need.”

Six Ex-co members remain jailed in and around Zurich, even as FIFA officials scramble to keep their governing body intact. Following pressure from sponsors for massive reform, the organization hired New York-based crisis communications and consulting firm Teneo to help it navigate the rough waters of the investigation.

According to the BBC, FIFA made the hire in consultation with the Quinn Emmanuel law firm based on Teneo’s relationship with U.S. politicians and the Justice Department. Former Sen. George Mitchell is a senior adviser with Teneo. The firm is led by Doug Band, a longtime adviser to former President Bill Clinton and the director of the U.S. bid committee for the 2022 World Cup, which ultimately was awarded to Qatar in 2010. Clinton served as an honorary chairman to the committee and served as a senior adviser to Teneo until 2012.

The website Politico reported this week that FIFA had contributed between $ 50,001 and $ 100,000 to the Clinton Foundation, according to donor records posted to the foundation’s website. Additionally, the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, which was formed to build the proper infrastructure after Qatar won the World Cup bid, has given between $ 250,000 and $ 500,000 to the foundation.


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