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ZURICH, May 28. /TASS/. UEFA President Michel Platini acknowledged on Thursday that the FIFA corruption scandal opens a possibility to beat Sepp Blatter in the elections of the FIFA president set for May 29.
"Before the events of this week maybe not," Platini said. "But not now with what has happened. I think that Blatter can be beaten."
He said a "large majority" of European nations would back Blatter's rival, Prince Ali bin al Hussein of Jordan.
An unprecedented corruption scandal flared up in FIFA on Wednesday morning as seven of the organisation’s high-ranking officials were arrested in Switzerland on bribery, money laundering and corruption charges filed by the US Justice Department and are now facing extradition to the United States.
FIFA plunged into the scandal on the eve of the organisation’s annual congress in Zurich where Blatter, who is at the helm of the organisation since 1998, was widely expected to be reelected as FIFA president.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier on Thursday that the arrests of FIFA high-ranking officials in Switzerland upon the request of the US authorities are very strange and seem as another attempt of the United States of expanding its jurisdiction on other countries,
"This is another obvious attempt of expanding one’s own jurisdiction on other countries," Putin told journalists. "And I have no doubts that this is certainly an attempt to prevent re-election of [Sepp] Blatter for the post of FIFA president, which is a blunt violation of international organizations’ principle of functioning."
Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, currently in Zurich, told TASS that most UEFA members will be casting their votes in favor of Prince Ali not because they want to support him, but with the desire to prevent Blatter's reelection.
"Many members of UEFA hold the stance that FIFA needs changes," Mutko said.