FIFA plans to hold an election this Friday for its highest office despite the arrest of officials of the soccer governing body in a corruption investigation.
“We have the congress about to start,” FIFA spokesman Walter De Gregorio told a packed auditorium of reporters in Zurich. “Lots of questions: Will the congress take place? Will it not take place?”
The group’s director of communications and public affairs answered in the affirmative. “Of course congress will take place,” De Gregorio insisted. “One thing has nothing whatsoever to do with the other. There may be dissenting views on that. From our side, this congress definitely will be carried out.”
But the arrests, far from having “nothing whatsoever” to do with the congress, came about because the congress awarded law enforcement the opportunity to round up many malefactors in one place.
”There was never such an idea to postpone nor the congress nor the election,” De Gregorio, owning Swiss-Italian dual nationality, said. “As I said before, one thing has nothing to do with the other. We go on with the agenda. The election will take place as it was planned.”
FIFA President Sepp Blatter seeks his fifth term as president of the group this weekend. Jordan’s Prince Ali bin Al Hussein, a FIFA vice president, runs as Blatter’s lone opponent. Should Blatter emerge victorious, he would begin his 18th year in office in June.