The FIFA presidential election will go ahead as planned on Friday, while the governing body has confirmed there will be no revotes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
On Wednesday, Swiss authorities arrested several top FIFA officials with plans to extradite them to the United States, where they will face federal corruption charges.
Later, the Swiss Federal Office of Justice announced that criminal proceedings have been opened in connection with the award of 2018 and 2022 World Cup finals.
However, the governing body’s communications director Walter De Gregorio has said Friday’s vote for the FIFA presidency, in which Sepp Blatter, 79, is widely expected to win re-election to a fifth term, will go ahead as planned.
De Gregorio also outlined that the 2018 and 2022 World Cups will take place in Russia and Qatar respectively.
He said at a news conference in Zurich: “Russia and Qatar will be played, this is fact today. I can’t go into speculation about what will happen tomorrow.”
The 209 presidents of FIFA’s member federations will vote on Friday for the man to lead world football’s governing body.
Two candidates, Luis Figo and Michael van Praag, withdrew last week to leave Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein — FIFA’s vice-president for Asia — and the incumbent Blatter to vie for the position.
De Gregorio said of Blatter: “He is not dancing in his office … he’s not kind of a happy man today saying ‘that’s really cool what happened.'”
Allegations of corruption among FIFA have hit a new high since 2010, when the body awarded the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 World Cup to Qatar — two countries embroiled in human rights investigations.
A whistleblower told the The Times of London that she witnessed multiple African FIFA officials receiving bribes of $1.5 million for their votes on the World Cup.
FIFA then began an investigation into the bids in 2012, but its full report has not been made public and its author, former U.S. attorney Michael Garcia, has slammed the integrity of the summary released by FIFA’s ethics committee.
FIFA issued a statement saying it is fully cooperating with the federal corruption charges investigation.
De Gregorio added that “FIFA is the damaged party” and “it is once again FIFA suffering under the circumstances.”
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