Zurich, May 28 (IANS) The FIFA presidential election scheduled for this week should be postponed for six months in view of the criminal charges announced Wednesday against two of the organisation’s current vice presidents, the governing body of European football UEFA said.
“Today’s events are a disaster for FIFA and tarnish the image of football as a whole,” the UEFA executive committee said in a statement, reports Efe.
“These events show, once again, that corruption is deeply rooted in FIFA’s culture,” the committee said after a meeting in Warsaw to address the charges filed by prosecutors in the US.
The US Justice Department charged 14 individuals – including two current FIFA vice presidents and seven other world football officials – with offences including racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies.
Seven of the people listed in the US indictment were arrested here on Wednesday where FIFA is headquartered.
The FIFA Congress set to begin Friday is at risk of turning into a “farce,” according to UEFA, which said its member associations “will have to consider carefully” whether they should even attend the gathering, where the main piece of business will be the election of the organization’s president.
The current regime in the sport, “if it is not stopped, will ultimately kill football,” UEFA said.
“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,” the statement said.
Switzerland’s Sepp Blatter, who has been the FIFA president since 1998, is seeking a fifth term.
Though several challengers initially threw their hats into the ring, only one other candidate remains in the race, Jordanian Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, whose bid has been endorsed by UEFA.