FIFA president Sepp Blatter believes things may get worse before they get better, as a corruption scandal continues to swirl around world football’s governing body.
On Wednesday, nine FIFA officials were among 14 individuals indicted on charges of racketeering, conspiracy and corruption.
The ramifications have been widespread, with UEFA initially calling for FIFA’s presidential election, which takes place on Friday, to be postponed before opting to take part.
In a speech at the opening of the FIFA Congress on Thursday, Blatter warned that there may be further bad news to come as FIFA desperately attempts to rescue its severely damaged reputation.
“You will agree with me that these are unprecedented and difficult times for FIFA and the events of yesterday have cast a long shadow over football and over this week’s congress,” said the Swiss.
“The next few months will not be easy for FIFA. I am sure more bad news may follow but it is necessary to begin to restore trust in our organisation.
“The actions of individuals, if proven, bring shame and humiliation on football and demand action and change from us all.
“We cannot allow the reputation of football and FIFA to be dragged through the mud any longer. It has to be stopped here and now
“I know many people hold me ultimately responsible. We, or I, cannot monitor everyone all of the time.
“If people want to do wrong they will also try to hide it but it must also fall to me to have the responsibility for our reputation and to find a way to fix things.
“I must stress that those who are corrupt in football are in a minority like in society. But like in society they must be caught and held responsible for their actions.
“Tomorrow, the congress, we have the opportunity to begin on the long and difficult road to rebuilding trust. We must earn it back through the decisions we make, the expectations we place on each other and the way we behave individually.”
“We will co-operate with all authorities to make sure all involved in wrongdoing is discovered and punished.”
“I will not allow the actions of a few to destroy the actions of those who work so hard for football.
“There can be no place for corruption of any kind. Let this be the turning point.”