MOSCOW, December 3. /TASS/. The new wave of FIFA officials’ arrests will not affect the elections of the new president of the world football governing body due in February 2016, former FIFA vice president Vyacheslav Koloskov told TASS on Thursday.
"This story will have no impact on the upcoming elections of the FIFA president. This is a local investigation linked to holding tournaments under the auspices of these confederations, as I understand," Koloskov said.
Switzerland’s authorities on Thursday morning arrested two members of the FIFA executive committee - the president of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), Alfredo Hawit, and the head of the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL), Juan Angel Napout. The arrests were made in Zurich which hosts the FIFA executive committee’s meeting on Thursday.
Switzerland’s federal department of justice and police said in a statement: "The high-ranking FIFA officials are alleged to have taken the money in return for selling marketing rights in connection with football tournaments in Latin America, as well as World Cup qualifying matches."
In comments to the reports, Koloskov said the arrests have no direct link to FIFA and the awarding of the 2018 World Cup to Russia. The two arrested FIFA officials "did not take part in the 2010 vote on choosing the host of the tournament."
"It is clear that these are not the new violations, but the continued investigation during which the representatives of these two confederations have been already arrested," he said.
"I can say that the CONCACAF president is an absolutely new person, while the head of CONMEBOL has served more than half of his term, he is a more famous person in the world football than his colleague from North America," Koloskov added.
The latest arrests occurred at the same luxury hotel, the Baur au Lac, where FIFA officials were arrested in May 2015. Visitors had to leave because of "an emergency situation," a hotel manager said.
The unprecedented corruption scandal flared up in FIFA in late May, when Swiss police arrested seven high-ranking FIFA officials on bribery, money laundering and corruption charges. A total of 14 football officials have been charged over involvement in $150 million of bribes.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter announced his plans to resign amid the corruption scandal.