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FIFA ´very happy´ with Zurich arrests

FIFA’s director of communications and public affairs has stated the organisation is “very happy” with arrests of football officials in relation to bribery allegations shortly before its presidential elections.

United States authorities were granted a request to investigate the claims, which date back to 1990, in Zurich with Swiss prosecutors later opening separate criminal proceedings into awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar.

President Sepp Blatter was not among those arrested and FIFA DoC Walter De Gregorio told a news conference that the governing body would “look forward to the results”.

De Gregorio also confirmed this week’s congress and Friday’s elections will go ahead as planned, while nothing has changed with regard to the aforementioned World Cups.

“In this case, FIFA is the damaged party. People of the federal attorney are here and we co-operated with them for our own interest,” De Gregorio explained.

“I saw tweets and media releases and comments and speculation, but let me say the general secretary [Jerome Valcke] and president are not involved in this procedure. He [Blatter] is focused on congress.

“He is quite relaxed because he knows that once again he is not involved. The rest he will accept what will happen.

“We are very happy with what is happening. It is unfortunately FIFA suffering and it is a difficult moment for us.

“This is good for FIFA not in terms of image and reputation but in cleaning up and everything we did in the last four years.

“For us it is a nice day. The process goes on and we look forward to the results. Without concrete results, there is room for all sorts of speculation.

On the subject of the World Cups, De Gregorio questioned: “What do you expect? We start to speculate on re-doing the whole thing?

“Russia and Qatar will be played. This is fact today, we don’t go into speculation what happens tomorrow.

“I can say the two World Cups will be played in Russia and Qatar.

“We have congress about to start. Will it take place? Of course it will. One thing [the arrests] has nothing to do with the other.

“There was never such an idea to postpone neither congress nor the election. We go on with the agenda and the election as planned.”

Wed 27 May, 2015
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