World Cups in Qatar and Russia will be played: FIFA spokesperson
Following the arrest of around six FIFA officials on charges of bribery and corruption, FIFA held a press conference where they answered questions about the investigation. Walter De Gregorio, FIFA Director of Communications & Public Affairs answered questions from the media all over the world.
Gregory said that FIFA were the affected party in the whole investigation process. “I wish to repeat that in this case, FIFA is the damaged party. There were no searches within the offices of FIFA. The people of the General Attorney are here and we work with them. It is in the highest interest that these questions can be answered after our complaint lodged on November 18th,” he said.
Here are the main highlights from the press conference:
No postponement of elections
Gregorio made it clear at the beginning of the press conference that FIFA President Sepp Blatter and the General Secretary Jérôme Valcke were not involved in the case.
He also said that the FIFA elections will go ahead as planned.
"There was never such an idea to postpone the congress or the election. One thing has nothing to do with the other. The election will take place as planned," he said. “I'm giving you this information right now. that we are in touch with the Attorney General.”
No re-vote on Russia and Qatar WCs
Gregorio said that even though investigations are going on into the Russia and Qatar World Cups, they will be held as it was planned. "We speculate maybe Russia loses it - will they, won't they? Russia and Qatar will be played, I don't want to go into more speculation," he said.
Gregorio said that there is not going to be a re-vote for the Russia and Qatar World Cups. He also said that there were no doubts about the World Cup.
Members will decide Blatter’s future
When asked whether Blatter was still the right man to head FIFA, Gregoria said that it was the decision of the members."The damaged party are all of us," he said.
"On the first point, what do you want me to answer? Of course he is the president of FIFA but how can you say he has to step down. If the 209 members decide to vote for his re-election, how can we argue?"
Gregoria mentioned that it was too premature to suspend any of the members at this point. “There's this presumption of innocence. There's a legal procedure and the ethics bodies are involved. There are procedures but you can't expect that at 6am when the Attorney General turns up we just suspend them. We're talking about something that started five hours ago, we're still finding out information. To expect now that at such short notice we would suspend people on no evidence,” he said.
He also said that the Garcia Report will be published. "Did you know that the Executive Committee decided that we would publish the Garcia Report once the open cases have been solved," he revealed.
Gregorio said that the legal complaint included the Garcia Report which they had since 18th November.
Good to clean up FIFA
Gregorio also said that the investigations are good to clean up the organization when asked if it was the lowest moment in FIFA's history.
"It's not good for image, it's not good for reputation, but it's good for cleaning up the game. We wouldn't have initiated proceedings on the 18th November if we didn't think it would be good for FIFA."
“We can clean up but we need the help of the authorities. Why did we hand over the Garcia report to authorities? Because we need support.”