FIFA to hold presidential election on Friday despite officials' arrest
FIFA, the world’s soccer governing body, says that the presidential election scheduled for Friday will go on as planned despite the arrests of several organization officials on corruption charges.
Sepp Blatter, FIFA's current leader, is running against Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan after two other candidates dropped out last week. Blatter is running for a fifth four-year term. He has been FIFA’s president since 1998.
The presidential election will take place in Zurich, Switzerland, where the 209 national federations will place their votes. A two-thirds majority is required in the first round of voting to win the election. If that fails, then a simple majority is required.
The United States Justice Department announced Wednesday that it had indicted nine FIFA and five corporate executives stemming from decades of corruption.
Current CONCACAF president and FIFA vice president Jeffrey Webb and former CONCACAF president Jack Warner were among those arrested and charged with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies.
"The actions of FIFA no longer concern me," Warner said in a statement. "I cannot help but note however that these cross-border coordinated actions come at a time when FIFA is assembled for elections to select a president who is universally disliked by the international community."
The Justice Department alleges that the defendants were given upwards of $150 million in bribes and kickbacks in efforts to score lucrative media and marketing rights to international soccer tournaments.
FIFA said that Blatter is not part of the investigation.
Swiss federal prosecutors also opened separate criminal proceedings relating to the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, which were won by Russia and Qatar, respectively.
FIFA also said no re-vote of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups will take place, and those two countries will remain the hosts of the tournament.
- Scooby Axson