Football: Swiss say no plans to question Fifa chief Blatter for now

GENEVA (AFP) - The Swiss authorities said on Thursday that there were no plans as yet to question Fifa's veteran leader Sepp Blatter in their investigation of money laundering and corruption allegations against football's main international body.

"For the time being, there are no plans to question the Fifa president," Andre Marty, a spokesman for the office of Switzerland's attorney-general, told AFP in an e-mail.

His comment came after Fifa was rocked on Wednesday by early morning arrests of seven football officials at a luxury hotel in Zurich, where the organisation is based and where its annual congress kicks off on Thursday.

The arrests came at the request of the US authorities, who said nine football officials were among a total of 14 people facing up to 20 years in jail if found guilty in the long-running corruption case involving more than US$150 million (S$203 million) in bribes.

US documents indicate that South Africa paid bribes to Fifa officials to secure the 2010 World Cup. Swiss police also searched Fifa's headquarters as part of a separate investigation into the award of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar.

Blatter, who has headed Fifa for 17 years and is set to stand for re-election on Friday, was not on the list. The beleaguered 79-year-old remained closeted in his office as global headlines slammed the "World Cup of fraud", with many calling for him to step down.

Blatter, who nonetheless remains the favourite to win Friday's election, vowed in a statement late on Wednesday that any officials found guilty of corruption would be expelled from the sport.

"Such misconduct has no place in football and we will ensure that those who engage in it are put out of the game," he said.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.