ZURICH, Switzerland - A British comedian interrupted a press conference by FIFA president Sepp Blatter, throwing paper money in front of Blatter just as he was about to speak on Monday, July 20.
The 79-year-old Blatter was about to give details of a special election for a new president when he was interrupted by Simon Brodkin who was immediately taken away by security guards.
"This is for North Korea 2026," the comedian said as he placed a stack of cash on the table in front of Blatter, which is a dig at reports that the bids by Russia and Qatar to host the World Cups in 2018 and 2022 respectively were influenced by votes that had been bought.
"Where is my security?" a flummoxed Blatter said as guards took several moments to escort Brodkin away.
Brodkin, who was portraying his footballer parody character "Jason Bent" later tweeted about the incident.
Excited to be at FIFA meeting Sepp Blatter to secure the #NorthKorea2026 World Cup. pic.twitter.com/7UV6spP8wc — Jason Bent (@Jason9Bent) July 20, 2015
The press conference was halted for a few minutes while the paper was cleaned up before Blatter returned and blamed the incident on "a lack of education".
“We have to clean here first. Otherwise I will not be able to speak [to] you ladies and gentlemen about football,” said Blatter. This has nothing to do with football.”
It was announced at the press conference that a special election on February 26 to replace Blatter, who has stepped down after several scandals hit the world football governing body.
Blatter announced on June 2 - 4 days after winning a fifth term as president - that he would stand down as a major corruption storm hit world football's ruling body.
The decision was a victory for Blatter who had wanted the vote pushed back until 2016. UEFA and some other regional bodies had sought a December election.
Blatter was to announce at a later press conference whether the executive committee agreed to first reform measures for the multi-billion dollar body.
FIFA is still reeling from the arrest of 7 officials at a Zurich congress two days before Blatter won reelection on May 29.
The 7 are among 14 people - soccer officials and sports business executives - accused by US authorities over more than $150 million in bribes paid to secure television and marketing contracts for football tournaments.
Former FIFA vice president Jeffrey Webb appeared in a New York court on Saturday after being extradited from Switzerland last week. He denied bribery charges but was only released on $10 million bail.
Swiss authorities are in parallel investigating the award of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. - with reports from Ryan Songalia/Rappler.com