UEFA urges postponement of FIFA election, may boycott congress
UEFA is urging FIFA to postpone its upcoming presidential election in light of multiple criminal investigations centering on soccer's governing body.
UEFA, the governing body for European soccer, also said that it was considering boycotting FIFA Congress, which is set to take place on Thursday and Friday in Zurich.
The U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday that it had indicted nine FIFA and five corporate executives stemming from decades of corruption, while Swiss authorities opened separate criminal proceedings into FIFA's bid process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
UEFA called the events "a disaster for FIFA" and said they "tarnish the image of football as a whole." From UEFA's statement:
There is a need for the whole of FIFA to be "rebooted" and for a real reform to be carried out.
The upcoming FIFA Congress risks to turn into a farce and therefore the European associations will have to consider carefully if they should even attend this Congress and caution a system, which, if it is not stopped, will ultimately kill football.
FIFA's election is scheduled for Friday, and earlier Wednesday the organization said that its presidential election would go on as planned.
Sepp Blatter, FIFA's current president, 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.
UEFA said in its statement that the organization's executive committee is "convinced that there is a strong need for a change to the leadership of this FIFA."
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 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.
- Stanley Kay and Scooby Axson