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GENEVA, July 20. /TASS/. An early election of the FIFA president will take place at a congress of Federation Internationale de Football Association in Zurich on February 26, 2016, the FIFA press service reports.
The date was determined at an extraordinary meeting of FIFA’s Executive Committee on Monday at the organization’s headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland. Meanwhile, Joseph Blatter, who has been in charge of FIFA since 1998, will be discharging functions of the FIFA president.
An unprecedented corruption scandal flared up in FIFA on morning of May 27, one day before the 65th FIFA Congress in Zurich, 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.
The US Department of Justice announced on May 27 that a total of 14 people (nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives) were indicted for racketeering conspiracy and corruption.
On top of all, shortly after FIFA President Sepp Blatter announced his plans to resign on June 2, some media reports informed that the FIFA chief was being investigated by the FBI and US prosecutors as part of the corruption case in the organization.
Blatter, 79, was reelected for his fifth consecutive four-year presidential term on May 29, when his only rival Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan pulled out after the first round of vote. However, addressing a news conference in Zurich on June 2, Blatter said he decided to lay down his mandate at FIFA extraordinary elective Congress.