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Culture Secretary: Fifa is deeply flawed and corrupt

The arrests of several officials suggests Fifa is a "deeply flawed and corrupt organisation", the Culture Secretary has said.

Culture Secretary John Whittingdale.

"The arrests that took place in Zurich yesterday along with the statements released both by the US Department of Justice and the Swiss Attorney General were shocking in both their scale and scope but they were also far from surprising," John Whittingdale told MPs.

"This is the latest sorry episode that suggests that Fifa is a deeply flawed and corrupt organisation."

Mr Whittingdale backed calls for a change in leadership and a postponement of Friday's presidential election, saying urgent reforms were needed at the top of the governing body.

Number of mortgage approvals are at 10-month high

Credit: PA

The number of mortgage approvals made to home buyers jumped to a 10-month high in April.

Some 42,116 mortgages got the green light last month - the highest figure seen since June 2014, the British Bankers' Association (BBA) reported.

There was also a sharp increase in the amount savers deposited in their bank accounts as well as signs people are becoming more confident about taking on personal loan and credit card debt.

Richard Woolhouse, chief economist at the BBA, said: "There appears to be broad confidence about the economy, which the banks are supporting through affordable credit, leading to rises in borrowing across the board.

"Business lending has risen in three of the first four months this year indicating that we might have reached a turning point.

"There was a significant pre-election jump in mortgage approvals which we would expect to continue in the coming months."


Putin accuses US of meddling with Fifa investigation

Vladimir Putin has accused the United States of meddling after senior Fifa officials were arrested on suspicion of corruption following an investigation by the FBI.

Russian President Vladimir Putin with Sepp Blatter at last year's World Cup. Credit: Reuters

Russian officials said yesterday that the country's 2018 World Cup bid was fully compliant after Swiss authorities said they were investigating allegations of "criminal mismanagement and money laundering" in connection with the awarding of the tournament.

Attacking the corruption investigation into Fifa, Mr Putin said: "This is yet another blatant attempt (by the United States) to extend its jurisdiction to other states.

He said the arrests were a "clear attempt" to prevent the re-election of Fifa president head Sepp Blatter, who he said had Russia's backing.

Dyke: No chance of England hosting 2018/2022 World Cups

FA chairman Greg Dyke has told ITV News "there's no chance" of England getting the chance to host either the 2018 or 2022 World Cups after Swiss authorities launched criminal proceedings into the allocation of the tournaments.

Mr Dyke seen in the middle of a media scrum in Zurich. Credit: ITV News/Rebecca Barry


Food poisoning bug found in 73% of supermarket chickens

A food poisoning bug has been found in nearly three quarters (73%) of fresh shop-bought chickens, the Food Standards Agency said.

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of fresh shop-bought chickens have tested positive for the bug. Credit: PA Wire

A year-long study found 19% of the chickens contained the highest rate of the bug, which affects an estimated 280,000 people a year.

The study focused on the levels of campylobacter contamination on fresh whole chilled chickens and their packaging.

All major retailers failed to reach the industry target for reducing the bug between February 2014 to this February, the FSA said.

Asda had a higher-than-average incidence of chicken contaminated at the highest level, while Tesco was the only supermarket to fall below the industry average.

Sepp Blatter pulls out of scheduled appearance

Embattled Fifa president Sepp Blatter has withdrawn from another scheduled appearance as the crisis engulfing his organisation continued.

Sepp Blatter has cancelled another scheduled appearance today. Credit: Reuters

Mr Blatter was due to give a speech at Fifa's medical conference at a Zurich hotel on Thursday morning, but the governing body said the 79-year-old would not be attending.

Blatter missed two meetings yesterday after senior officials were arrested on bribery and corruption charges.

The president - who is bidding to be re-elected at Friday's presidential election - issued a statement saying he was committed to removing those involved in corrupt practices from the game.

'Substantial' EU reform needed for referendum win

The Government will not win its referendum on Britain's continued membership of the European Union unless there is "substantial" reform in Brussels, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has warned.

Philip Hammond Credit: Pa Wire

Speaking to the BBC, Hammond said: "The Prime Minister is very clear in dealing with European counterparts that if we are not able to deliver on these big areas of concern that the British people have, we will not win the referendum when it comes.

"We expect our European Union partners to engage with us in delivering a package that will enable the British people to decide that Britain's future is best delivered inside the European Union.

"We expect that some of our partners will adopt a hard line at the start of the negotiations - that's how negotiation works - but we are very confident that, over the course of the summer and perhaps onwards through the winter, we will be able to negotiate a substantial package of reform which will address the concerns that the British people have."

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