ZURICH: FIFA has confirmed expectations that it will switch December’s meeting of the executive meeting back to Zurich rather than stage it in Tokyo as planned writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The last exco meeting of the year is staged, traditionally, during the finals of the world federation’s Club World Cup, held in Morocco last year and reverting to Tokyo this coming December.
However the refusal of president Sepp Blatter to leave the safety of Switzerland – from which he cannot be extradited – led the increasing speculation about a meeting switch. This will be on the agenda for the exco meeting – also in Zurich – on Thursday and Friday of this week.
The only foreign travel undertaken by Blatter since the arrest of seven FIFA-linked officials – including two vice-presidents – in May was to Russia for the World Cup qualifying draw last month. Russia has no extradition agreement with the United States whose Justice Department is conducted a major investigation into commercial corruption in football in the Americas.
Blatter has not been indicted but US Attorney-General Loretta Lynch said in Zurich last week that more arrests were around the corner.
The FIFA president’s name was not raised in details of the indictment issued against 14 men in May but his name has been linked with recent controversies. One issue concerned a World Cup TV rights agreement with former CONCACAF president Jack Warner, the other a tickets controversy.
Blatter has denied all wrongdoing and insisted that his “conscience is clear.”
A FIFA spokeswoman confirmed the issue of the date and venue of the December exco meeting was under review.
The meeting is important because it must ratify arrangements for the extraordinary election congress in February and which reform proposals – from the new committee being led by Swiss lawyer Francois Carrard – should be put before delegates from the 209 national associations.