FIFA to decide next week on crisis meeting

Zurich :FIFA’s ruling council will next week discuss a possible emergency meeting over the corruption scandal engulfing football’s world governing body, a spokeswoman said.

The powerful head of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) called for an urgent meeting of FIFA’s executive committee after president Sepp Blatter was suspended on Thursday for 90 days over a Swiss criminal probe.
The 79-year-old Blatter, who has led FIFA since 1998, has been “relieved of all his duties” for 90 days as Swiss prosecutors investigate him for criminal mismanagement.

AFC president Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa today wrote to acting FIFA president Issa Hayatou to call for an emergency meeting of the executive committee.

“These are exceptional circumstances and that is why we need the meeting. Only together will we overcome these difficult times,” Khalifa said, according to a statement from the AFC.

A FIFA spokeswoman told AFP the matter would be discussed by Hayatou and his fellow committee members next week, but the decision lay with the acting president.

UEFA president Michel Platini was also suspended for 90 days, dealing a major blow to his bid to replace the veteran Swiss at the head of FIFA.

Blatter and French football legend Platini have faced mounting pressure since Swiss prosecutors started their investigation on September 25.
Platini has been named in the investigation because of a two million dollar (1.8 million euros) payment he received
in 2011.

Platini, 60, registered his candidacy on Thursday for the February 26 vote to find a successor to Blatter.

He slammed as “farcical” the FIFA ban and signalled he would pursue his campaign for the leadership of the world body.

Lawyers for Blatter said he was “disappointed” the ethics watchdog had failed to follow its own rules by not letting him give evidence.

FIFA’s woes have been mounting since May when US authorities issued charges against 14 FIFA officials and sports marketing executives over more than $150 million in bribes given for broadcasting and marketing contracts.

Seven FIFA officials were detained at a Zurich hotel two days before Blatter was reelected for a fifth term on May 29. He has said he plans to stay in office until an election is held to choose a replacement on February 26.