FIFA’s executive committee met on Monday and has decided to set Feb. 26, 2016 as the date for a vote to replace embattled president Sepp Blatter, FIFA announced Monday.
On June 2, Blatter said he would leave his post after 18 years at the helm of FIFA, just four days after he won a fifth four-year term by beating Jordan’s Prince Ali bin al-Hussein in a vote.
Blatter’s resignation came after the United States Justice Department indicted and charged 14 defendants with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies, accusing the men of decades of “rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted” corruption by former and current FIFA officials. Platini had asked Blatter to resign after the criminal indictments were announced, but at the time Blatter refused.
One of those arrested, former FIFA vice president and CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb, agreed to be extradited to the United States to face corruption charges. Webb pleaded not guilty in a Brooklyn, N.Y., federal court on Saturday to racketeering and money laundering and was released on $10 million bail.
Blatter, 79, is reportedly under investigation for bribery and racketeering by several U.S. federal agencies. He has been linked to soccer officials taking bribes in efforts to secure lucrative broadcast rights and hosting votes for international tournaments.
Swiss authorities are looking into as many as 81 “suspicious activity reports” of money laundering amid their continuing investigation into the bidding process of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, won by Russia and Qatar, respectively.
- Scooby Axson