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FIFA president Sepp Blatter welcomes US investigations

Sepp Blatter
Image: Sepp Blatter

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has issued a statement saying that he welcomes investigations by the US and Swiss authorities into allegations of bribery and corruption against some FIFA officials.

This morning vice-presidents Jeffrey Webb - the current CONCACAF president - and Eugenio Figueredo from Uruguay were arrested, along with Eduardo Li, Julio Rocha, Costas Takkas - who is reportedly a UK citizen - Rafael Esquivel and Jose Maria Marin.

In addition, two former FIFA officials, Jack Warner - the former president of CONCACAF, who has denied any wrongdoing - and Nicolas Leoz, have been indicted. All nine are or were representatives from South America, North America, Central America or the Caribbean. Five corporate executives have also been indicted.

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US Attorney General Lorretta Lynch has run explained the allegations facing FIFA officials.

Now Blatter has released a statement backing the investigations.

His statement read: "This is a difficult time for football, the fans and for FIFA as an organisation. We understand the disappointment that many have expressed and I know that the events of today will impact the way in which many people view us.

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FA Chairman Greg Dyke gives his view on what he describes as 'a terribly serious day' for FIFA.

"As unfortunate as these events are, it should be clear that we welcome the actions and the investigations by the US and Swiss authorities and believe that it will help to reinforce measures that FIFA has already taken to root out any wrongdoing in football.

"While there will be many who are frustrated with the pace of change, I would like to stress the actions that we have taken and will continue to take. In fact, today's action by the Swiss Office of the Attorney General was set in motion when we submitted a dossier to the Swiss authorities late last year.

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"Let me be clear: such misconduct has no place in football and we will ensure that those who engage in it are put out of the game. Following the events of today, the independent Ethics Committee - which is in the midst of its own proceedings regarding the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups – took swift action to provisionally ban those individuals named by the authorities from any football-related activities at the national and international level."

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Former FA Chief Executive Mark Palios thinks the FIFA crisis could speed up well-needed change in football’s governing body.

FIFA’s independent ethics committee has also banned 11 individuals from football-related activities.

Elsewhere, Sky sources understand that all Swiss nationals working for FIFA, including Sepp Blatter, have been told by investigating authorities that they cannot leave Switzerland until further notice.

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