Fifa: Valdez, new head of South American football, calls for 'clean slate'

Interim president of the South American football federation Wilmar Valdez speaks during a press conference in Luque, Paraguay, Dec 11, 2015.
Interim president of the South American football federation Wilmar Valdez speaks during a press conference in Luque, Paraguay, Dec 11, 2015.PHOTO: AFP

ASUNCION (AFP) - The new head of South America's football federation has called for a "clean slate" as it regroups from the scandal that led to the arrest of his predecessor.

"We have to start over from scratch," the organisation's president Wilmar Valdez told AFP in an interview in Asuncion on Saturday, one day after starting his new job. "We need a clean slate."

Valdez officially started his new job on Friday, after the federation's previous chief was arrested in the Fifa corruption probe.

Valdez previously was the first vice-president to Juan Angel Napout of Paraguay, who was arrested last week in a dawn raid on a Zurich luxury hotel - the latest twist in the multi-million-dollar corruption saga at world football's governing body.

Napout, a Fifa vice-president who had been Conmebol chief since 2014, is one of 16 Latin American football officials indicted by US authorities last week.

Conmebol is the umbrella group for 10 South American football associations.

Valdez, a former sportswriter, is optimistic despite the unprecedented scandal.

"I am sure that Conmebol will be back, and soon, to become an organisation completely different from what it used to be," he said. That's the challenge and we'll rise to it."

The scandal over allegations of multi-million dollar bribes for the awarding of tournament hosting rights and broadcast contracts has upended Fifa, leading to the suspension of long-time president Sepp Blatter and several other top officials.