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World football FIFA opens internal probe of alleged corruption

Sepp Blatter was surprised by a British comedian throwing banknotes at him during a recent press conference in Zurich

(Keystone)

Zurich-based FIFA says it has launched an internal investigation into corruption allegations which have rocked football’s world governing body. The investigation, carried out in parallel to American and Swiss probes, will reportedly be led by external lawyers. 

FIFA confirmed on Friday that it was carrying out its own internal investigation into alleged wrongdoing in world football. 

It told Associated Press it is "dedicated to improving the organisation, and will continue to strengthen FIFA's governance and accountability". 

FIFA added that it is "focused on achieving the highest standards for the international football community". However, it gave no details. 

Anonymous sources told Reuters that the US law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan was conducting the investigation, which is running parallel to the probes by authorities in the United States and Switzerland. The results of the investigation are expected to be shared with the authorities, they added. 

FIFA was thrown into turmoil in May when US prosecutors announced the indictment of nine current and former football officials, many of whom had FIFA positions, and five sports marketing executives. Prosecutors said the 14 corrupted the sport by agreeing to more than $150 million (CHF148 million) in bribes and kickbacks for media and marketing rights.

The Swiss criminal investigation into possible corruption in football is specifically targeting the awarding of the World Cup hosting rights to Russia for 2018 and to Qatar for 2022.

A FIFA spokesman said the governing body was cooperating with authorities and would not comment on ongoing investigations. 

swissinfo.ch with agencies

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