Computer data seized at FIFA HQ
Lausanne: FIFA has handed over computer data to Swiss police investigating the 2018 and 2022 World Cup votes and suspended bidding for the 2026 tournament as it remained at the centre of a football corruption storm.
Brazilian legend Zico, meanwhile, became the first person to officially declare himself a candidate to take over football’s scandal-tainted world governing body from Sepp Blatter.
FIFA said that computer data from its Zurich headquarters had been handed to Swiss prosecutors.
Swiss authorities are investigating the 2010 FIFA vote that awarded the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar.
“FIFA today provided, as planned, data requested by the attorney general,” said a spokesman for the global body.
The BBC claimed that documents were seized from the offices of Blatter, FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke and chief financial officer Markus Kattner. Swiss prosecutors refused to reveal the identity of the individuals involved.
FIFA has been thrown into chaos by the Swiss inquiry and a parallel investigation by the FBI into corruption by football officials which led to seven FIFA officials being arrested at a Zurich hotel last month.
Valcke said Russia had won the right to host the 2018 finals “honestly” and “one must be crazy to say that all hosting rights were bought.” The draw for the Russian tournament will be held in St Petersburg on July 25.
Russia’s Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said preparations are going ahead with “all diligence”.
“We took no notice of the politics, we just pragmatically continue our preparations,” he said.
Bidding for the 2026 World Cup was meant to start this year before a final decision at a congress in Kuala Lumpur in 2017. But Valcke said the process has been halted.
“It was decided to place the administrative process on hold for the 2026 FIFA World Cup bidding due to the current situation,” a FIFA statement said.
“Due to the situation, I think it’s nonsense to start any bidding process for the time being,” Valcke told a new
conference in Samara, one of the Russian cities due to host 2018 World Cup matches.