FIfa’s Presidential Election will go ahead as planned on Friday, despite the dawn raid of its executives’ hotel in Zurich and the arrest of leading figures who now face extradition to the US where they will face charges of wire fraud, racketeering and money laundering.
The Office of the Swiss Attorney General has also confirmed it will question ten of the 23 people who were on Fifa’s Executive Committee when it voted for Russia and Qatar as the hosts of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
LIVE: Fifa corruption arrests
But Fifa’s Director of Communications Walter de Gregorio said the two matters “completely unrelated”, and it means, in all likelihood, Sepp Blatter will be re-elected for a fifth term as Fifa President.
Among those facing extradition is Jeffrey Webb, President of Fifa’s Concacaf Federation, which includes the US, Canada and his own native Cayman Islands.
He was not on the Executive Committee in 2010 when the controversial Qatar decision was made.
Fifa has stressed that it is the “damaged party” in this investigation, and the questioning has been prompted by their own handing of files to Swiss authorities last November.
It has since provided further documents. The Swiss investigators are expected to provide further updates later today, but there is no reason to conclude that the documents given to them by Fifa will be sufficient for the removal of the hosting rights from either Russia or Qatar.
The US investigation is completely separate, and the two groups co-operated on this morning’s raids solely in the interests of “criminal procedure” and to “prevent collusion.” US Department of Justice will hold a press conference at 3.30pm BST this afternoon.
The seven men arrested in Zurich this morning are Jeffrey Webb, Eduardo Li, Julio Rocha, Costas Takkas, Eugenio Figueredo, Rafael Esquivel and José Maria Marin, at the request of the United States.
The investigations date back to 1991 and much of the evidence is understood to have been provided by American Chuck Blazer, who became an FBI informant and secretly recorded meetings, including at London 2012.
All in all, fourteen defendants have been indicted, including the seven arrested this morning. Four men have already pleaded guilty, including Chuck Blazer. Brazilian former sports journalist Jose Hawilla, the former President of a sports marketing company Traffic Sports, has also pleaded guilty and agreed to return $151m (£100m).
Jack Warner’s two sons Daryll and Daryan Warner, have also pleaded guilty.Reuse content