Austria investigates football chief for alleged corruption

Austrian prosecutors said Wednesday they are investigating the national football federation head over a payment made at the time of the disgraced Sepp Blatter's re-election as Fifa president in 2015.

Austria investigates football chief for alleged corruption
In this 2009 image Austrian football federation president Leo Windtner (L) takes part in the presentation of Austria's then new national team football coach Dietmar "Didi" Constantini. Photo: AFP

“We are investigating because of the suspicion of breach of trust and corruption,” the public prosecution office for economic and corruption affairs (WKStA) said.

The $100,000 (€84,000) transfer was made by Fifa, the world governing body, to a project supporting young footballers in Africa at the beginning of 2015.

The patron of this project was none other than the wife of the head of the Austrian Football Federation (ÖFB), Leo Windtner.

According to two Austrian websites, Addendum and, the funds were approved just after Windtner had said in an interview that he supported Blatter serving another term.

The money was initially wired to the ÖFB, which returned it to Fifa, saying it was not involved in the African project. Fifa then transferred it directly to the project's account.

Windtner, 67, said on Wednesday that he would make a statement to prosecutors in the coming days and that he was “relaxed” about the probe.

“I didn't give Blatter any promise or undertaking,” Windtner said. “Everything was transparent and every cent accounted for. I have nothing to reproach myself for.”

He conceded that the money was at first wrongly transferred to the ÖFB and not to the African project, “but that was no fault of mine”.

In the end, the ÖFB supported Blatter's rival for the Fifa presidency, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan.

Blatter won re-election but amid swirling corruption allegations the Swiss was later banned from soccer for making an improper payment to then-Uefa chief Michel Platini.


Where to watch UEFA Euro 2016 in Vienna

With Austria not known for excelling in international tournaments - excluding Eurovision and skiing of course - when the national football team qualified for Euro 2016 last year it was cause for much celebration.

Where to watch UEFA Euro 2016 in Vienna
Strandbar Hermann

It was the first time the country has qualified for the Championship on the field since 1964, although they have played before when they hosted the competition in 2008. Understandably, Austrians are very excited and things are already heating up in the country.

Here are a few excellent public viewing spots in Vienna where you can catch the matches between June 10th and July 10th.

1. Altes AKH, 1090

Photo: Stiegl-Ambulanz
The large open courtyard of the old hospital and now university campus is often used for public screenings of big sporting or entertainment events. Being a student hotspot, it’s recommended to get there as early as you can to get a spot that is not blocked by a tree. You could also try to get a seat at the Stiegl-Ambulanz bar in the campus, which will have screens as well.

2. WUK, 1090

Photo: WUK
If you can’t get see the football for the trees in Altes AKH, you could always dash to WUK just around the corner. With this being the HQ for FM4’s Euro coverage, the beautiful surroundings of the former factory and activist community will host discussion events with fans and experts as well as show the football. There will also be the obligatory sausage stand inside the courtyard (with vegan food alternatives).

3. Rathausplatz, 1010

This popular public viewing spot is near the center of Vienna, on the Ringstrasse in front of the gothic town hall. The huge square is often used for public events – in fact there are only 6 weeks a year when it isn’t – and the football is no exception. Expect crowds, and a fair number of tourists, but there will be lots of food and drink stalls lining the sides.

4. Donau Canal

Photo: Strandbar Hermann
There will be a couple of places along the canal where you can grab a beer in the – fingers crossed – sunshine and watch the footies. At Flex (Augartenbrücke) games will be screened in the outdoor area on a huge LED wall and there will also be TVs in the cafe if the weather changes for the worst. The Summer Stage (U4 Rossauer Lände) will also be broadcasting all European Championship games on several screens which can be seen easily from every table. A favourite spot will also be the Strandbar Hermann (Donaukanal-Urania) where loungers and tables will provide space for 2,000 football fans.

5. Seestadt Aspern, 1220

An artists impression of the public viewing screens at Aspern Nord.
In this big open space at U2 station Aspern Nord, the Euro games will be broadcast for the first time on 3 LED walls so bar any ridiculously tall people or large hats you are almost guaranteed to be able to see a screen. It’s a bit further out, but there will also be tons of food trucks to keep the munchies at bay.

If none of these takes your fancy, here are some other public spaces also showing the footie:

  • Campus WU
  • Hohe Warte
  • Pratersauna
  • Chelsea
  • Riesenradplatz
  • Hauptbahnhof
  • Lugner Kino