MOSCOW, June 3. /TASS/. Russia will continue cooperation with FIFA despite the unexpected resignation of its president Sepp Blatter, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday.
"We still have no information on the reasons for this resignation," Peskov said. "Mr. Blatter will keep fulfilling his duties until the next congress, therefore the work continues and cooperation with FIFA continues."
"Most importantly, Russia continues preparations for the World Cup 2018. All plans are being implemented, the work is under way," he said adding that Blatter's resignation announcement made just four days after his re-election for a fifth term was a surprise for the Kremlin.
Blatter, 79, said on Tuesday he would step down at an extraordinary elective Congress of the organisation. He said he cherished "FIFA more than anything," but the organisation needed "a profound overhaul." Since the reelection was not supported by everyone, Blatter said, he decided to announce his resignation.
According to media reports Sepp Blatter is being investigated by the FBI and US prosecutors as part of the corruption case in the organization.
An unprecedented corruption scandal flared up in FIFA on May 27 as seven of the organization’s high-ranking officials were arrested in Switzerland on bribery, money laundering and corruption charges. The scandal involves two separate criminal proceedings.
Firstly, the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York is conducting a criminal investigation into the awarding of media, marketing and sponsorship rights for soccer tournaments in the United States and Latin America. Secondly, the Swiss Office of the Attorney General is conducting a criminal investigation into the selection of Russia as the host country for the 2018 World Cup and Qatar as the host country for 2022.
The arrests of the seven FIFA top officials were made by the Swiss police at the request from the US authorities and they are now facing extradition to the United States.
The US Department of Justice said in its statement last week that a total of 14 people (nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives) were indicted for racketeering conspiracy and corruption.