ZURICH (CBSNewYork/AP) — FIFA says it welcomes the indictment of several key officials and the criminal proceedings into World Cup voting because it shows corruption is being eradicated from world soccer.
Speaking hours after the arrests on Wednesday, FIFA spokesman Walter de Gregorio said the governing body “initiated this process” by lodging a legal complaint with Swiss authorities last year.
De Gregorio said FIFA is the “damaged party” and will cooperate fully with investigators, adding the action by authorities in the U.S. and Switzerland “can help contribute to rooting out any wrongdoing in football.”
De Gregorio said FIFA President Sepp Blatter “is not involved” and also ruled out a revote of the 2010 decision to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar.
“This is what is fact today and I don’t go into speculation what will happen tomorrow,” he said.
Seven officials were among the 14 indicted. The U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement that two current FIFA vice presidents — Jeffrey Webb and Eugenio Figueredo — were among those arrested and detained by Swiss police pending extradition at the request of American authorities after a raid at a luxury hotel in Zurich.
“The indictment alleges corruption that is rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted both abroad and here in the United States,” Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said in the statement. “It spans at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks.”
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