Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey has called on the world football governing body, Fifa, to fight corruption and be more transparent.
Calmy-Rey was addressing the opening session of Fifa’s congress in Zurich on Tuesday evening, which is due to elect its president on Wednesday in the midst of a growing bribery scandal.
She urged the incumbent president, Sepp Blatter and the 208 national delegations, to "take seriously the many criticisms voiced about corruption."
She assured her listeners that Fifa is “important to Switzerland”, but said it should reform its governance.
Blatter is set to be re-elected, as his only opponent, Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar, withdrew from the contest at the weekend, and has since been suspended for allegedly bribing voters.
Blatter was cleared by the body’s ethics committee of wrongdoing.
Several sponsors, including Coca-Cola, Adidas, the Emirates airline and the Visa credit card company have expressed concern about the persistent allegations of corruption in Fifa. Both the English and Scottish Football Associations have called for Wednesday’s election to be postponed.
Speaking at the start of the evening of entertainment which launched the congress, Blatter warned that “the Fifa pyramid is trembling on its foundations”, and said he would speak on Wednesday about how the danger to the organisation could be fought.
swissinfo.ch and agencies