UEFA has called for FIFA’s presidential elections to be postponed, in the wake of a number of officials being arrested on the request of the United States authorities.
Nine FIFA officials are among 14 individuals to have been indicted by the United States Department of Justice regarding allegations of racketeering, conspiracy and corruption, with seven of those charged arrested in Zurich on Wednesday.
The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) has also confirmed the start of separate criminal proceedings against “persons unknown” in connection with the allocation of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, following charges filed by FIFA – with the governing body described as “the injured party”.
In a subsequent press conference, FIFA director of communications Walter De Gregorio stated that this week’s congress and Friday’s elections will go ahead as planned, but European football’s governing body has strongly opposed such a plan.
“Today’s events are a disaster for FIFA and tarnish the image of football as a whole,” a UEFA statement read.
“UEFA is deeply shocked and saddened by them. These events show, once again, that corruption is deeply rooted in FIFA’s culture.
“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.
“The UEFA member associations are meeting tomorrow ahead of the FIFA Congress. At that point, the European associations will decide on what further steps need to be taken to protect the game of football.
“In the meantime, the members of the UEFA Executive Committee are convinced that there is a strong need for a change to the leadership of this FIFA and strongly believe that the FIFA Congress should be postponed, with new FIFA presidential elections to be organised within the next six months.”