31 May 2015

Top FIFA official says scandal affecting NZ

10:33 am on 31 May 2015

A high-ranking FIFA executive says the Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand is being overshadowed by the allegations of corruption in the organisation.

Action from the opening match of the under 20 FIFA World Cup, 2015.

The Junior All Whites in action against Ukraine yesterday in the opening match of the Under-20 World Cup. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Nine senior FIFA officials and five others were indicted last week on multimillion-dollar corruption charges.

They are accused by US prosecutors of racketeering, fraud, and money laundering involving tens of millions of dollars and spanning decades.

Speaking to Radio New Zealand via a teleconference from Zurich, FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke said the organisation may have to look at the composition of its executive committee or the way members are elected.

"Because, at the end, one person destroys so much of the image of FIFA and you know perfectly because I think it's also a bit happening in your tournament."

FIFA's Jerome Valcke speaks during a press conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on 20 January.

FIFA's Jerome Valcke speaks during a press conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on 20 January. Photo: AFP

Meanwhile, FIFA's newly re-elected president Sepp Blatter has launched a blistering attack on critics of the world football governing body.

Speaking on the day after his re-election, Mr Blatter criticised what he called a hate campaign against him and his organisation.

He singled out European football uuthority UEFA, which opposed his re-election, and the US Justice Department.

Sepp Blatter reacts after his re-election as president of FIFA in Zurich.

Sepp Blatter reacts after his re-election as president of FIFA in Zurich. Photo: AFP

Mr Blatter, who faced hostile questions during the news conference in Zurich, denied any involvement in corruption and accused the media of exaggerating the crisis.

"Some people would say you are the head of an organisation and should know if a $10 million payment is going through FIFA," he said.

"Is that incompetence or intentional negligence? Neither nor ... And we will not go further if this is an investigation on that. The only thing I can say is that I have no $10 million."

Mr Valcke said New Zealand would not be punished for its vote against Mr Blatter.

He said Mr Blatter himself had said he was the president of all 209 member associations, not just the 133 that voted for him.

Mr Blatter also said he had forgiven everyone but would not forget.

- RNZ/BBC