German justice minister urges new start at FIFA without Blatter

German justice minister urges new start at FIFA without Blatter
FIFA president Sepp Blatter

BERLIN - Germany's Justice Minister said on Friday he did not believe FIFA President Sepp Blatter could continue to lead world soccer's global governing body after the arrest of senior officials on corruption charges. "I don't know whether there is still even anyone who thinks Sepp Blatter is the right person to resolve the issue," Heiko Maas told Germany daily Bild in an interview.

Blatter, who is standing for a fifth term as president on Friday, has flatly rejected calls to step down even as FIFA has been engulfed in the worst crisis of its 111-year history.

Despite growing calls for his resignation, he is expected to be re-elected at a meeting in Zurich due to start at 0730 GMT. His sole challenger is Prince Ali bin Al Hussein of Jordan.

Nine soccer officials and five sports media and promotions executives have been charged by US prosecutors with corruption they said involved more than $150 million in bribes.

Swiss authorities have also announced a criminal investigation into the awarding of the next two World Cup tournaments, hosted in Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022.

Maas called for a new allocation of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups if it was proven that corruption had taken place. "If it turns out that votes have been bought, you can't just stick to such a decision. It's important that the World Cup is not awarded to whoever pays the highest bribe," he said.

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