FIFA says 'working well' as Hayatou takes charge

Thu Oct 15, 2015 5:07pm EDT
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ZURICH (Reuters) - FIFA, engulfed by a wave of scandals, is still working well in operational terms, acting secretary general Markus Kattner said on Thursday as interim president Issa Hayatou assumed office to replace the suspended Sepp Blatter.

Blatter was last week suspended for 90 days by FIFA's Ethics Committee along with secretary general Jerome Valcke and UEFA president Michel Platini, pending a full ethics investigation.

FIFA has been engulfed in crisis since May when 14 soccer officials and sports marketing executives were indicted in the United States on bribery, money laundering and wire fraud charges involving more than $150 million in payments.

Just four days into his fifth mandate, Blatter announced in June that he would step down at an extraordinary Congress which would choose a replacement.

“Operationally, FIFA is working well, as it should, and the best example is the FIFA under-17 World Cup, which is about to kick-off in Chile,” Kattner said in a FIFA statement.

“On top of that, the FIFA World Cup qualifiers are taking place... Our football development activities across the globe continue apace."

Hayatou, who has been president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) since 1988, described FIFA's situation as "unprecedented."

“But we remain focused on the necessary reform process, the Presidential election and on supporting the current investigations," he said.

"To restore public trust is a crucial objective. It is essential that FIFA carries on its mission of developing the game and staging international tournaments.”

(Writing by Brian Homewood in Nyon, Switzerland; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

Issa Hayatou, Senior Vice President of the FIFA walks after delivering his speech at the 65th FIFA Congress in Zurich, Switzerland, May 29, 2015.                 REUTERS/Ruben Sprich