Zico eyes top Fifa job, calls for change

Zico eyes top Fifa job, calls for change
CONTENDER: Former Brazilian star Zico, seen here in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday, is the first person to officially declare himself a candidate to take over Fifa's top post from Blatter. Zico was also formerly a sports minister.

LAUSANNE, Switzerland - FIFA has handed over computer data to Swiss police investigating the 2018 and 2022 World Cup votes, and suspended bidding for the 2026 tournament as it remains at the centre of a football corruption storm.

Meanwhile, Brazilian legend Zico became the first person to officially declare himself a candidate to take over football's scandal-tainted world governing body from Sepp Blatter.

Fifa said that computer data from its Zurich headquarters had been handed to Swiss prosecutors.

The Swiss authorities are investigating the 2010 Fifa vote that awarded the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar.

"Fifa today provided, as planned, data requested by the attorney-general," said a spokesman for the global body.

The BBC claimed that documents were seized from the offices of Blatter, Fifa secretary-general Jerome Valcke and chief financial officer Markus Kattner. Swiss prosecutors refused to reveal the identities of the individuals involved.

Fifa has been thrown into chaos by the Swiss inquiry and a parallel investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation into alleged corruption by football officials, which led to seven Fifa officials being arrested at a Zurich hotel last month.

Valcke said Russia had won the right to host the 2018 finals "honestly" and "one must be crazy to say that all hosting rights were bought". The draw for the Russian tournament will be held in St Petersburg on July 25.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said preparations are going ahead with "all diligence".

"We took no notice of the politics, we just pragmatically continue our preparations," he said.

The United States authorities have charged 14 football officials and sports marketing executives over more than US$150 million (S$203 million) in bribes. They include the seven - two of them former Fifa vice-presidents - detained in Zurich and now fighting extradition to the US.

The corruption controversy marred Blatter's May 29 re-election for a fifth term as Fifa president, and he announced just four days later that he would resign.

An election for a new leader will not be held before December, but potential successors are already jostling for position to run the world's richest and most powerful sporting federation.

Zico, a hero of Brazilian teams of the late 1970s and early 1980s and former sports minister, declared on Wednesday he would enter the race.

"I feel I am capable. For sure, certain rules need to change," he said at a press conference in Rio de Janeiro.

"Much needs to change and much is going to happen."

Jordan's Prince Ali Al-Hussein - who stood against Blatter in last month's election - has indicated he could also stand, along with former Fifa vice-president Chung Mong Joon of South Korea.

But Uefa president Michel Platini refused to discuss his plans at a Paris press conference marking one year to the start of the European Championships in France.

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