Fifa to pin down date of vote for president

ZURICH • Fifa's leadership meets in Zurich today to decide the date of a vote to replace president Sepp Blatter, as a corruption storm inflicts ever worsening damage on world football.

The meeting takes place just two days after Jeffrey Webb, until May a Fifa vice-president, made his first appearance in a New York court to deny charges that he accepted millions of dollars in bribes for marketing deals.

He was released on US$10 million (S$13.7 million) bail.

The bond was secured by 10 properties, three cars, a case of jewellery and watches belonging to Webb and his wife - as well as financial assets, including his 401k retirement account.

The 50-year-old dual British and Cayman Islands citizen also surrendered his passports to the authorities and must remain within a 32km radius of the courthouse in Brooklyn.

Webb is the first former Fifa official to appear in a New York federal court in connection with the sweeping investigation by US prosecutors that has rocked the sporting world.

In all, 14 defendants stand accused of soliciting and getting over US$150 million in bribes and kickbacks across 24 years.

Webb was one of seven Fifa officials detained in a raid in a Zurich hotel ahead of the world football body's congress in May.

Two days later, Blatter was re-elected to a fifth term but, within days, he announced he would organise a new election.

The 79-year-old Swiss is to announce a date for that after today's executive committee meeting. The vote will be held in Zurich between December this year and February 2016.

Following some ambiguous comments in media interviews, Blatter will be pressed to make clear that he is standing down.

Fifa also faces mounting pressure to quickly start reforms.

Blatter is also expected to announce what further measures could be proposed to the special election congress.

He could reveal that steps such as limits on terms for Fifa executive members and greater disclosure of salaries of top officials will be voted on at the Congress.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 20, 2015, with the headline 'Fifa to pin down date of vote for president'. Print Edition | Subscribe