Sepp Blatter claims Fifa corruption arrests are politically motivated by US

Fifa's president criticises US justice secreatry Loretta Lynch and suggests Zurich arrests could be politically motivated

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The Independent Online

Sepp Blatter, Fifa's president, has hit out at US investigators pursuing corruption charges against members of football's international governing body.

Speaking a day after his re-election as Fifa president, Blatter criticised Loretta Lynch, the US attorney general, and even suggested the US investigation could be politically motivated.

Blatter's re-election as president came just days after seven Fifa officials were arrested in Zurich in dawn raids by Swiss police ahead of Fifa's annual congress. Those men are now fighting extradition to the US.

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In an interview with a Swiss broadcaster on Saturday Blatter said "there is something that smells" about the timing of the arrests.

"Listen, with all the respect to the judicial system of the US with a new minister of justice," Blatter said, referring to Lynch who took up the role of attorney general in April, "the Americans, if they have a financial crime that regards American citizens then they must arrest these people there and not in Zurich when we have a congress."

Lynch said last week that Fifa and football marketing officials had "corrupted the business of worldwide soccer to serve their interests and to enrich themselves". She has said the US case is just begining.

In comments after his re-election Blatter had appeared to suggest that the scandal currently engulfing Fifa had come about because five years ago the body named Russia and Qatar as respective hosts for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup contests.

On Saturday he made his point more firmly. "The Americans were the candidates for the World Cup of 2022 and they lost," he said.

"The English were the candidates for 2018 and they lost, so it was really with the English media and the American movement that came down."

Blatter's opponent for the Fifa presidency had been Prince Ali bin Al Hussein, a Jordanian who won more than a third of the vote but pulled out rather than force a second round.

Blatter appeared to connect the US investigation with Prince Ali's campaign, saying: "The United States, it is the main sponsors of the Hashemite kingdom," a reference to Jordan.

Eighteen people have so far been indicted as part of the US justice department's investigation.