FIFA president Sepp Blatter calls emergency crisis meeting
FIFA president Sepp Blatter called an emergency meeting with the leaders of soccer’s six confederations after 14 officials were arrested and indicted on Wednesday, accused of decades-long widespread corruption.
The U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday that it had indicted nine FIFA and five corporate executives on a variety of corruption charges, while Swiss authorities opened separate criminal proceedings into FIFA's bid process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
Blatter has refused calls to resign from his position, saying he is still the best person to lead the organization. UEFA president Michel Platini said he asked Blatter to step down, but that Blatter refused.
"There was a meeting today with the president [Blatter] with the representatives from the confederations to discuss the current situation,” FIFA spokeswoman Delia Fischer said.
The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) was not represented at the meeting, as federation president Jeffrey Webb was one of seven men arrested at the hotel on Wednesday.
Blatter has not made any public appearances since Swiss federal authorities raided FIFA headquarters and the Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich. He is expected to attend Thursday's UEFA meeting and address FIFA election voters as well.
Blatter was not among the individuals charged by the Department of Justice with racketeering, fraud and money laundering.
FIFA’s presidential election is set for Friday, and Blatter is resisting calls by UEFA to postpone the vote for six months.
UEFA says it will not boycott the vote, but English Football Association vice chairman David Gill says he will step down from his seat on the FIFA executive committee if Blatter is re-elected.
The 79-year old Blatter is running against Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan and widely expected to win a fifth four-year term.
- Scooby Axson