Blatter says failure to back reforms would be betrayal

Thu Sep 24, 2015 2:50pm EDT
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By Brian Homewood

ZURICH (Reuters) - Outgoing FIFA president Sepp Blatter told his scandal-plagued federation's 209 member associations on Thursday that failure to support reform would amount to a betrayal of millions of soccer fans.

Blatter's comments came as FIFA's executive committee began a two-day meeting where it was due to discuss a request to provide greater transparency around investigations into allegations of corruption.

The committee also will be given an update on the second of two reform processes which have begun since FIFA was plunged into the worst crisis in its 111-year history in May.

Soccer's governing body has been in turmoil since 14 sports marketing executives and soccer officials, including several from FIFA, were indicted in the United States on bribery, money laundering and wire fraud charges.

Seven of those accused were arrested by Swiss police in a dawn raid on a luxury Zurich hotel on May 27, two days before the FIFA Congress where Blatter was re-elected for a fifth term.

As pressure mounted on FIFA, Blatter made a shock announcement in early June that he would step down at an extraordinary Congress which will take place on Feb 26 in Zurich.

Last week, the problems took another twist when FIFA put secretary general Jerome Valcke on leave and requested a formal investigation into allegations against him. His duties have been taken over by his deputy Markus Kattner.

"I expect all member associations to fully support this reform process at the Extraordinary Congress in February," Blatter wrote in his weekly column in FIFA weekly.   Continued...

FIFA President Sepp Blatter arrives for a news conference aside of the so-called "Sepp Blatter tournament" in Blatter's home-town Ulrichen, Switzerland, August 22, 2015. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse