Fifa corruption: Executive Committee's longest serving member says he will quit Fifa 'if this atmosphere prevails'

Michel D’Hooghe has been a member of the committee since 1988

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The Independent Online

The longest serving member of Fifa’s Executive Committee has said he will quit unless the organisation shows itself capable of substantial reform.

Belgian Michel D’Hooghe is Fifa’s Chief Medical Officer and has been a member of the Executive Committee since 1988, ten years before Sepp Blatter was elected President.

"I cannot reconcile myself with an institution where I work, where I have carried the medical responsibility for 27 years and about which I now learn that there is a lot of corruption," D'Hooghe told the VRT television network in Belgium.

"My conclusion is very clear: I will no longer continue to participate (in FIFA) under such conditions. So, it is high time for change to come and we will see over the coming days what may happen. Let's be clear, if this atmosphere prevails at FIFA, I have no place there."

His own Fifa medical conference took place on Wednesday and Thursday of last week, but was entirely overshadowed by the extraordinary developments at the Baur au Lac Hotel on Wednesday morning, when seven Fifa officials were arrested in a dawn raid.

President Blatter had been expected to address the conference, but it became the third public appearance he cancelled in the wake of the arrests.

In February the Belgian doctor was finally cleared or wrongdoing by Fifa’s Ethics Committee, which concluded a painting given to him by the Russia 2018 bid team “has no commercial value and was offered as a friendly gesture.”

Fifa’s Ethics Committee has also suspended General Secretary of its North American and Caribbean confederation Enrique Sanz. He is strongly believed to be one of the co-conspirators mentioned in the U.S. Department’s indictment, which led to the arrests, most notably of his chief executive, Jeffrey Webb.

Mr Sanz had worked for Traffic, the sports marketing organisation said to have facilitated huge kick backs over the awarding of marketing and media contracts. The former head of the company, Jose Hawilla, has already pleaded guilty and promised to return $151m (£100m) in bribes.

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