KEIR RADNEDGE in ZURICH: An emergency meeting of the FIFA emergency committee was staged at the Home of FIFA in Zurich today as president Sepp Blatter sought to keep control of confusion swirling around the world football federation.
Yesterday’s arrests in Zurich and United States Justice Department revelations had thrust FIFA into the worst crisis of even its scandal-assailed 111-year history.
FIFA spokesmen had insisted yesterday that it would be business as usual with congress and the presidential election going ahead tomorrow as scheduled.
Blatter pulled out of a scheduled appearance at a two-day medical conference to brief members of the emergency committee on events of the previous 24 hours and his insistence of maintaining the schedule agreed months ago.
His hand was strengthened by the knowledge that, despite UEFA’s European objections, he had full backing from the Asian and African confederations.
The emergency committee comprises the FIFA president and heads of the six confederations. Hence the meeting should have been attended by UEFA president Michel Platini and Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa (AFC), Issa Hayatou (Africa) and David Chung (Oceania) plus Jeff Webb (CONCACAF) and Eugenio Figueredo (South America).
However Webb and Figueredo were both unable to attend in any case, having been arrested and detained yesterday by Swiss police at the request of the US Justice Department which is seeking their extradition to face corruption charges.
Hayatou was also absent because of hospital treatment.
Hence Blatter, Platini, Chung and Sheikh Salman were joined by incoming CONMEBOL president Juan Angel Napout as well as Lydia Nsekera (Burundi) on behalf of CAF and Rafael Salguero (Guatemala) on behalf of CONCACAF.
** Alfredo Hawit of Honduras has taken over as interim president of CONCACAF after the suspension of Jeffrey Webb who was arrested by Swiss police on behalf of the US Justice Department in Zurich on Wednesday.