Two Welsh Labour MPs have added their voices to the calls for Sepp Blatter to stand down as President of FIFA following the arrests in Switzerland as part of an FBI anti-corruption investigation. The Football Association of Wales has said it will vote against Sepp Blatter's re-election as FIFA President.
Rhondda MP Chris Bryant, who's the new Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, spoke on behalf of the Labour Party when the FIFA arrests were raised at Westminster.
Yesterday the whole world saw that beneath the mask the beautiful game has a very, very ugly face. Can anyone be in any doubt at all that FIFA is rotten to the core and needs swift and wholesale reform? What is particularly galling is that the value of the World cup is not created by FIFA but by the many millions of loyal fans around the world. Football belongs to the mums and dads taking their children to their first match and to the youngsters lining their bedroom walls with posters, not to the fat cats who have creamed off millions of pounds for themselves. Is it not inconceivable that Sepp Blatter should continue in post now that his own election as president in 2011 is under investigation by the Swiss authorities?
Stephen Doughty MP suggested that Sepp Blatter was not the only FIFA officlal who should quit. He said that after years of allegations about the Zurich based organisation, the Swiss authorities also had some questions to answer.
I share the incredulity of many football fans that Sepp Blatter and the senior leadership of FIFA can remain in their positions after these allegations, which have been going on for some time. Does the Secretary of State agree that the Swiss Government need to take a serious look at how they regulate and oversee the activities and finances of international sporting organisations, including not only FIFA but the International Olympic Committee, UEFA and many other bodies located in Swiss territory?
The Secretary of State, John Whittingdale, said the Swiss authorities were now clearly taking the matter very seriously and working with the FBI. He said a change in leadership at FIFA was badly needed and he was pleased that the UK's four football's associations were all backing UEFA's call for action. He added that "this is merely the latest sorry episode to suggest that FIFA is a deeply flawed and corrupt organisation".
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