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Bach urges FIFA to shed full light

29 May 2015

IOC: Thomas Bach has urged FIFA to co-operate fully with US authorities to shed full light on the corruption allegations facing football's governing body.

In addressing FIFA's 65th congress, Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee, acknowledged sad and difficult days after seven FIFA officials were arrested on Wednesday as part of a US corruption inquiry.

He's urged FIFA to strengthen its co-operation with the relevant authorities and take all necessary measures to address such grave allegations. 

"I would very much like to encourage you to continue and strengthen your co-operation with the relevant authorities to shed full light on the concerned methods and to take all necessary measures to address such grave allegations," Bach told the FIFA opening ceremony.

Beleaguered FIFA president Sepp Blatter on Thursday warned of "more bad news" for football's scandal tainted world body but rejected calls to resign over a widening corruption scandal.

Blatter, who faces a re-election vote Friday, opened FIFA's annual congress by saying he could not be blamed for the corruption controversy which even drew Russia's President Vladimir Putin and British Prime Minister David Cameron into the fray.

"The next few months will not be easy for FIFA. I am sure more bad news will follow but it is necessary to begin to restore trust in our organisation," the 79-year-old said,

"We cannot allow the reputation of football and FIFA to be dragged through the mud any longer. It has to stop here," he added.

Blatter called the scandals "unprecedented" and said the "actions of individuals bring shame and humiliation on football and demand action and change from us all."

He spoke hours after a showdown with European football chief Michel Platini who called on Blatter to quit. Platini said he confronted Blatter at an emergency meeting of the heads of the the six regional confederations.

The UEFA president said he was "sickened" and "disgusted" at the arrests and a raid by Swiss police on FIFA headquarters as part of a corruption inquiry into the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar.

The seven arrested in Zurich are among 14 people accused by US authorities of taking more than $150 million in bribes.

Blatter remained defiant despite mounting pressure over the scandals.

UEFA had called for Friday's vote to be postponed because of the corruption arrests. But other regional groups said it should go ahead and UEFA said it would not boycott the vote.

Platini said that a "very, very, very large majority" of the 54 European nations would back Prince Ali bin al Hussein of Jordan, the FIFA vice president who is the only challenger to Blatter in the vote.

He called on other regions to back the prince. Australia agreed but African and Asian groups say they are still backing Blatter.

Credit card giant Visa said it would "reassess" its sponsorship if FIFA does not clean up the sport. Other sponsors, who also sponsor the Olympics, to speak out against corruption were Coca-Cola, Adidas and McDonald's.

AAP (edited by AOC)

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