Lausanne: Sepp Blatter turned 80 yesterday, with a party planned at a luxury hotel in Zurich, as Switzerland's criminal investigation into his FIFA presidency looked set to intensify.
After his four-decade career at world football's governing body formally ended on February 26 with the election of his successor, Gianni Infantino, Blatter was "extremely busy with the preparations for his birthday," his spokesman Klaus Stoelkher said.
But on Wednesday, France announced that it had seized documents in connection with the suspect 2.0 million Swiss franc ($2.0 million, 1.8 million euros) payment he made to Frenchman Michel Platini — a transaction that led to Blatter's ban from football. Blatter said that he saw no malice in the timing of the search.
'It's a lovely day'
"I don't think that the Swiss prosecutor's office considered that it was the day before my birthday," he said, adding that news of the search would not spoil his celebrations. "I don't see how this could ruin this lovely day."
Roughly 100 people have been invited to the party at the Savoy Baur en Ville hotel in Zurich, which has been organised by Blatter's daughter Corinne. A cake — with no candles — and a brief speech by his partner Linda Gabrielian are on the agenda.