Sepp Blatter

President of FIFA, Sepp Blatter

Swiss prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into Sepp Blatter, the head of football’s world governing body FIFA.

The Attorney General’s office said he was suspected of criminal mismanagement or misappropriation over a TV rights deal and of a “disloyal payment” to European football Chief Michel Platini.

Mr Blatter was being questioned, and his office was searched, it added.

Fifa said it was co-operating with the investigation.

Mr Blatter, 79, has run Fifa since 1998 and has always denied any wrongdoing.

The Swiss attorney general’s office said the investigation surrounds a TV rights deal Mr Blatter signed with former Caribbean football chief Jack Warner in 2005.

The statement said Mr Blatter is also suspected of making a “disloyal payment” of two million Swiss francs ($2m; £1.3m) in 2011 to Michel Platini, the head of the European football body Uefa.

It said the payment was “at the expense of Fifa, which was allegedly made for work performed between January 1999 and June 2002”.

Mr Blatter is due to step down in February and Mr Platini is widely expected to replace him.