The Swiss has backed calls for reform after a day in which seven members of his organisation were accused of taking bribes over a 24-year period
Fifa president Sepp Blatter has branded Wednesday’s corruption arrests as “unfortunate” and reiterated the governing body’s intention of cleaning up its act.
Seven Fifa officials were arrested amid 14 indictments by the US Federal Office of Justice in cooperation with Swiss police ahead of the 65th Fifa Congress, dominating headlines across the world.
Uefa has called for Blatter to stand down due to Fifa “killing football”, despite insistences from the sport’s governing body that the president should not be held responsible from the allegedly corrupt actions of dozens of his colleagues.
“This is a difficult time for football, the fans and for Fifa as an organisation,” Blatter stated on Fifa’s website. “We understand the disappointment that many have expressed and I know that the events of today will impact the way in which many people view us.
“As unfortunate as these events are, it should be clear that we welcome the actions and the investigations by the US and Swiss authorities and believe that it will help to reinforce measures that Fifa has already taken to root out any wrongdoing in football.
“While there will be many who are frustrated with the pace of change, I would like to stress the actions that we have taken and will continue to take. In fact, today’s action by the Swiss Office of the Attorney General was set in motion when we submitted a dossier to the Swiss authorities late last year.
“Let me be clear: such misconduct has no place in football and we will ensure that those who engage in it are put out of the game. Following the events of today, the independent Ethics Committee – which is in the midst of its own proceedings regarding the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 Fifa World Cups – took swift action to provisionally ban those individuals named by the authorities from any football-related activities at the national and international level.
“These actions are on top of similar steps that Fifa has taken over the past year to exclude any members who violate our own Code of Ethics.
“We will continue to work with the relevant authorities and we will work vigorously within Fifa in order to root out any misconduct, to regain your trust and ensure that football worldwide is free from wrongdoing.”