Japanese FIFA executive committee member Kozo Tashima said Monday that football‘s governing body faced a battle to purge itself of corruption, but ruled out a revolt against embattled president Sepp Blatter.
Blatter was re-elected to a fifth term as president in Zurich on Friday despite the arrest of seven FIFA officials on suspicion of racketeering, wire fraud and money-laundering. But he could still face questioning by Swiss authorities.
Tashima, newly elected to the executive committee, said FIFA must ride out the storm but likened the deepening crisis to an open wound.
“The executive committee feels that FIFA is in the middle of a period of turbulence,” Tashima was quoted as saying by Kyodo news agency on returning from the FIFA Congress. “We must squeeze all the pus out — down to the very last drop.”
However, the Japanese insisted that the executive committee would not call on Blatter to step down.
“He is responsible for overseeing the organisation,” said Tashima. “But no direct charges have been brought against the president himself so at this point it’s unlikely we will demand his resignation.”
In a new twist to the scandal, it emerged that South Africa’s football chief did pay $10 million to afootball association headed by a figure at the centre of the allegations, though he denied the payment had been to buy votes to host the 2010 World Cup.
Tashima predicted further turbulence and admitted that FIFA faced a huge challenge to regain trust.
“I don’t know if you call it a difference in business practices or what, but things that are totally unacceptable in Japan and America are completely acceptable in other parts of the world,” he said.
“Or in some cases, deemed necessary to conduct business.
“You can say all the right things but not everyone will be convinced. That is the current situation and we have to see what we can accomplish in such an environment. It’s not going to be easy.” – Agence France-Presse