FIFA meet to set date for vote on Blatter's replacement

Mon Jul 20, 2015 5:51am EDT
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By Simon Evans

ZURICH (Reuters) - The leadership of crisis-hit world football governing body FIFA gathered at their Zurich headquarters on Monday to set a date for the vote to replace outgoing president Sepp Blatter.

Blatter and other top officials from around the world began an extraordinary executive committee meeting to set the timetable for a congress to vote on their next leader.

Also on the agenda are early plans for reforms in response to corruption scandals which have rocked FIFA.

Blatter and his general secretary Jerome Valcke will address the media following the meeting - the first time the president has faced the press since announcing he would stand down.

The organization was left reeling before it's May congress after a dawn raid at a five-star Zurich hotel where seven officials, including FIFA vice-president Jeffrey Webb, were arrested.

On Saturday in New York, Webb pleaded not guilty to a range of charges including racketeering, money-laundering and fraud and was released on a $10 million bail.

FIFA is under investigation from the U.S. Department of Justice as well as Swiss authorities, and also faces growing pressure from top sponsors, such as Coca Cola and McDonald's who have urged major changes.

The organization insists it is taking the need to reform seriously and is co-operating with investigators, but for many critics those claims will be greeted with scepticism until the man who has ruled the body since 1998 is replaced.   Continued...

Journalists gather in front of the FIFA headquarters during a meeting of the FIFA executive committee in Zurich, Switzerland July 20, 2015. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann