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Friday 9 December 2016

'It's like something out of a mafia movie' - FAI boss John Delaney on FIFA arrests

FAI's John Delaney.
FAI's John Delaney.

FAI chief executive John Delaney has said that he is 'shocked' and 'saddened' by the news after Swiss authorities made early-morning arrests of six football officials and opened separate criminal proceedings over the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Officers carried out a dawn raid on the five star Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich and arrested a number of officials on corruption charges, including FIFA vice-president Jeffrey Webb from the Cayman Islands, according to sources close to the world governing body.

It is understood that FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who is standing for re-election on Friday, is not among those arrested.

In a separate move, officers raided FIFA's headquarters in Zurich, seized electronic data and opened criminal proceedings "against persons unknown on suspicion of criminal mismanagement and of money laundering in connection with the allocation of the 2018 and 2022 football World Cups," said a statement from the Swiss attorney general.

John Delaney claimed that he was not surprised by the shocking developments in Zurich this morning.

"It seems like something out of a mafia movie," he told Today with Sean O'Rourke on RTE Radio One.

"Nothing would surprise me with FIFA, that’s the sad thing about FIFA. UEFA is a tremendous organisation to work.

"When you wake up this morning and hear those events, it’s shocking and very saddening.

"The awards of World Cups are always covert and then there are independent reports that we don’t get to see. We’re told we’d get redacted versions and we don’t get those.

"There is always controversy around FIFA and it’s governance and the one person who has always been at the head of that is Sepp Blatter and he has to take some responsibility for that and that’s why I said yesterday that we wouldn’t be voting for him."

The FIFA presidency election will go ahead as planned on Friday, the governing body's communications director Walter De Gregorio has said.

Speaking about the FIFA arrests made today, acting US attorney Kelly T Currie said: "After decades of what the indictment alleges to be brazen corruption, organised international soccer needs a new start. Let me be clear: this indictment is not the final chapter in our investigation."

US attorney general Loretta Lynch said: "The indictment alleges corruption that is rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted both abroad and here in the United States. It spans at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks."

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