Sepp Blatter: This is a difficult time for football

The Fifa president has spoken out about the World Cup bribery scandal gripping the sporting fraternity.

FIFA President Joseph 'Sepp' Blatter. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - In the wake of one of the biggest football scandals to hit the sporting world, Fifa President Sepp Blatter has described the corruption in the football federation as a 'difficult time for the sport'.

It emerged this morning that seven of the most powerful figures in global soccer now face extradition to the US on corruption charges after their arrest in Switzerland.

In a statement released this evening, Blatter says Fifa will continue to work with the relevant authorities as well as vigorously within the organisation to regain the world's trust.

He has sent a strong message warning officials that misconduct has no place in football and it will expel any wrongdoers from the game.

"This is a difficult time for football, the fans and for Fifa as an organisation. 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."

He went on to say, "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."


At the same time, the Independent Ethics Committee has provisionally banned individuals named by authorities from football related activities at national and international level.

The banned individuals include Jeffrey Webb, Eduardo Li, Julio Rocha, Costas Takkas, Jack Warner, Eugenio Figueredo, Rafael Esquivel, José Maria Marin, Nicolás Leoz, Chuck Blazer and Daryll Warner.

In a statement the football body said:

On the basis of investigations carried out by the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee and the latest facts presented by the US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York, the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee, Hans-Joachim Eckert, today banned provisionally 11 individuals from carrying out any football-related activities on a national and international level. The decision was taken upon the request of the chairman of the investigatory chamber, Dr Cornel Borbély, based on art. 83 par.1 of the FIFA Code of Ethics.

"The charges are clearly related to football and are of such a serious nature that it was imperative to take swift and immediate action. The proceedings will follow their course in line with the FIFA Code of Ethics," said Chairman Eckert.

To read the full statement from the Swiss Attorney General on the matter, click here."