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Leadership crisis Busy day of wrangling envelops FIFA scandal

The Swiss agreed to extradite Nicaragua's Julio Rocha, while football leaders discuss the future after Sepp Blatter, the suspended FIFA president.

(Keystone)

European football leaders decided to stick by their suspended president, Michel Platini, for the time being amid more upheaval from the FIFA scandal.

Also Thursday, the Swiss Federal Office of Justice approved the extradition of FIFA official Julio Rocha, the former president of the Nicaraguan Football Federation, to the United States, and then to Nicaragua.

Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan, meanwhile, submitted his candidacy for FIFA’s next presidential election scheduled for February. He lost FIFA’s May election to Sepp Blatter, who won a fifth term before announcing his surprise resignation just days later.

In an emergency meeting, European football leaders debated whether they would still support Platini, despite his suspension for at least 90 days as president of UEFA.

After the meeting at its Swiss headquarters in Nyon, the UEFA executive committee and 54 national associations issued a statement of support for him.

"We support Michel Platini's right to a due process and a fair trial and to the opportunity to clear his name," the statement said.

"We strongly call on all instances involved in the current process: FIFA's Ethics Committee, FIFA's Appeal Committee and ultimately the Court of Arbitration for Sport to work very rapidly to ensure that there is a final decision on the merits of the case by, at the latest, mid-November 2015," it said.

Last week, FIFA’s ethics panel suspended Platini and Sepp Blatter, the long-time FIFA president, for at least 90 days, over a CHF2 million payment that Platini received from FIFA in 2011. Swiss authorities are investigating the payment. Both men have denied wrongdoing.

The ethics committee also banned FIFA vice president Chung Mong-joon for six years, and fined him CHF100,000 ($103,000).

The South Korean businessman and Platini, a former French football captain, had both declared themselves rivals for the FIFA presidency.

Prince Ali, a former FIFA vice president, said he wants to ensure that scandal-rocked FIFA makes real changes.

“The crisis at FIFA is a crisis of leadership,” he said in a message to the organisation. “For all of us these are dark times. Restoring FIFA’s credibility will not be an easy task, but together it can be done. For the good of the game all who love it, I humbly ask for the honour of your support."

swissinfo.ch

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