UEFA has elected not to boycott the FIFA congress following a meeting in Zurich on Thursday and a majority of European nations will back Prince Ali bin Al Hussein in Friday’s presidential election.
The European governing body had initially called for the election – in which Sepp Blatter is bidding for a fifth term at the helm – 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.
An eighth – former vice-president Jack Warner – reportedly spent the night in jail following his arrest in Trinidad and Tobago.
The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) 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”.
FIFA director of communications Walter De Gregorio stated that this week’s congress and Friday’s elections would go ahead as planned and, despite initially expressing opposition to the plans, UEFA is now set to take part.
“Enough is enough,” said UEFA president Michel Platini. “I am the first to be disgusted by this and I want Blatter to go.
“I told Mr Blatter ‘we started together and now I am asking you to step down as we cannot continue this way’.
“He told me ‘it’s too late, I can’t today all of sudden leave when Congress starts this afternoon’.”
Platini added that the majority of UEFA nations will back Prince Ali’s campaign, saying: “A very, very big majority of UEFA associations will vote for Prince Ali – a minimum of 45 or 46 [out of 53], and I try to convince more.”
Prince Ali will also have the support of Football Federation Australia, who confirmed their allegiance on Thursday.
Meanwhile, David Gill has announced he will stand down from the FIFA Executive Committee if Blatter is re-elected on Friday.
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