Blatter: Shame and humiliation brought on Fifa
US authorities said nine soccer officials and five sports media and promotions executives are implicated.
ZURICH - Shame and humiliation have been brought on Fifa following the turbulent events of the last two days which included the arrest of leading soccer officials at their Zurich hotel, the world soccer body's president Sepp Blatter said on Thursday.
Blatter, making his first public appearance since Wednesday's extraordinary events which critics said marked a new low for his federation, said there was no room "for corruption of any kind".
"The events of yesterday have cast a long shadow over soccer and this Congress," Blatter, who is standing for a fifth mandate in Friday's presidential election where Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein is his only challenger, said in his opening speech to Fifa's annual Congress in Zurich.
"They bring shame and humiliation to soccer and demand change from us all. We cannot allow the reputation of Fifa to be dragged through the mud any longer."
Ignoring calls to step down because of the corruption scandal, Blatter said, "I know many people hold me ultimately responsible.... (but) I cannot monitor everyone all the time. If people want to do wrong, they will also try to hide it."
Seven of the most powerful figures in global soccer were arrested on Wednesday in a dawn raid on a luxury hotel that Fifa used to host visiting officials, and face extradition to the United States on corruption charges.
The Swiss authorities also announced a criminal investigation into the awarding of the next two World Cups being hosted in Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022.
US authorities said nine soccer officials and five sports media and promotions executives faced corruption charges involving more than $150 million in bribes.
"Football cannot be the exception to the rule, that is our responsibility at FIFA, and we will co-operate if anyone is involved in wrong doing," said Blatter.
"There can be no place for corruption of any kind. Let this be the turning point. More needs to be done to make sure everyone in soccer behaves responsibly and ethically. Football deserves so much more and we must respond.
"Tomorrow, at the Congress, we ... will begin a long and difficult road. We have lost trust, at least part of it, and we must now earn it back, through the decisions we make.
"We like this game ... not for greed, not for exploiting, not for power, but because of the love of the game. Solidarity and unity is asked for the game, for the world, for peace.
"We have the opportunity to begin on what will be a long and difficult road to rebuilding trust. We have lost their trust or at least be part of it."
Meanwhile, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula has compared the alleged Fifa 2010 World Cup scandal to a 'Hollywood movie' in which the country has been forced to be the 'main actress' but says the claims are pure speculation.
Mbalula says although government is still waiting to see the US indictment which implicates a top SA official in paying ten million dollars for this country to be awarded the tournament five years ago.
"Mbalula said there was no room for speculation, without having solid information. The US indictment claims a high ranking South Africa official handed over the money in a briefcase in a Paris hotel room to a person linked to former Fifa Vice President Jack Warner.
Mbalula said this is absurd.
"It's like we are watching Movie Magic where people exchange briefcases. Things we never thought we would hear about, now they are reported. Yurrrra this movie, we are told we are the main actors."
He said the claims don't even add up.
"I've never seen $10 million before but I hear it can fit in a briefcase. It's too much man."
Mbalula said the government has a clear conscience that they have done nothing financially wrong.
At the same time, Blatter has reportedly met with key officials from football's various associations where he's re-affirmed that he has no intention of stepping down from his post as president.
Today's meeting comes as Uefa who have called tomorrow's presidential elections in light of the investigations a farce, have threatened to boycott the event.
The BBC reports that Eufa boss Michel Platini asked Blatter to resign this morning in light of the growing crisis and ahead of tomorrow's election where Jordan's Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein is his only challenger.
Blatter is said to have refused and still garners the support of a large swathe of its members including the likes of the Asian Football Confederation and the Confederation of African Football.
Meanwhile, the Hawks say they're willing to assist international authorities in the multi-million-dollar Fifa racketeering probe.
Two senior South African World Cup bid committee officials have been implicated in the Fifa global scandal which has seen several senior officials arrested.
The South African government has insisted that the bid process that lead to the country hosting the 2010 World Cup was entirely above board.
Despite high profile people implicated in serious corruption, the Hawks' Hangwani Mulaudzi said they have not been asked to assist in the investigation.
He said the unit is however, ready to provide any support if they are asked to do so.