FIFA President Sepp Blatter will not be attending the final of the 2015 Women's World Cup in Vancouver, British Columbia, according to a U.S.-based lawyer, citing “personal reasons” as the reason for his absence.
Traditionally, the president of FIFA hands the winner of the Women's World Cup the trophy, but this year, that won't be the case. As reported by Reuters' David Ingram, attorney Richard Cullen confirmed the news, saying: “He’s not going to go to the finals in Canada. He has informed the organizers of that and cited personal reasons.”
This will be the first time during Blatter's reign as president that he won't be attending the ceremony. According to sports writer Keir Radnedge, Secretary-General Jerome Valcke also won't travel to Canada.
FIFA said the reason they wouldn't attend was because both had commitments in Zurich, per the Associated Press' Rob Harris.
BBC Sports' Natalie Pirks was none too pleased when she heard the news:
Blatter has confirmed he will resign as president of FIFA amid controversy and an investigation by the American authorities, which has already seen a number of arrests made, per the Guardian's Owen Gibson. Since the investigation was made public, Blatter has limited his travels, and per HuffPost Sports, it's easy to see why:
As reported by Gibson, Blatter is also under investigation by the FBI with allegations of corruption and bribery hanging over FIFA's head, but Swiss authorities have already confirmed he's no longer in their crosshairs.
Many will suggest Blatter may fear he could be arrested should he travel to Canada, and while that can never be said with certainty, his absence at the Women's World Cup final won't paint a pretty picture.