Blatter to skip Olympic meetings in Malaysia next week

ZURICH (AP) FIFA President Sepp Blatter will not travel to Malaysia next week for an IOC meeting where the host city of the 2022 Winter Olympics will be chosen.

Blatter, who has been an IOC member for 16 years, usually attends the annual Olympic meeting but has curbed his travel since an American investigation into FIFA corruption was revealed in May.

A letter was sent last week notifying the IOC that Blatter would not go to Kuala Lumpur, FIFA official Walter Gagg told The Associated Press on Monday.

Since May, Blatter has skipped FIFA tournaments in New Zealand and Canada which have extradition treaties with the United States.

”FIFA was not stuck because the president was not moving,” Blatter quipped Monday at a news conference after his executive committee chose Feb. 26 for the presidential election to replace him.

Blatter will travel to Russia this week for the 2018 World Cup qualifying draw being made Saturday in St. Petersburg.

FIFA will still be well represented at the Olympic meetings.

Gagg, who accompanies Blatter on IOC business, said he will join FIFA senior vice president Issa Hayatou at the meetings. Hayatou, of Cameroon, is another long-time IOC member.

Two others combine membership of the IOC and the FIFA executive committee: Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah of Kuwait and Lydia Nsekera of Burundi.

The IOC session will be held from July 31 to Aug. 3. The vote on the 2022 host city will be held July 31, with Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan, as the candidates.