FIFA vice president suggests sinister U.S tactics


CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - FIFA vice president Issa Hayatou said the arrest of officials from world football's governing body in Zurich last week at the behest of the U.S. Justice department should have been carried out on American soil.

He questioned the timing of the arrest of seven officials in dramatic dawn raids last Wednesday, on the eve of the contentious FIFA Congress where his close ally Sepp Blatter was re-elected.

"When people come at 6am to arrest 10 of yours, who are sleeping in their rooms, and with all the resultant hype, you cannot say FIFA is not shaken.

"But we are united and the congress went off well. We observed all the formalities and nothing happened, except people came from the United States to arrest the (Latin) Americans when they could have arrested them on the American continent. "That was something that that surprised the whole world. Why did they not arrest them in America rather than there (Zurich)? There is a reason," he said, suggesting a sinister motive behind the timing of the arrests, which included two fellow FIFA vice presidents now fighting extradition to the U.S.

The Confederation of African Football president, in an interview posted on the CAF website (cafonline.com) on Tuesday, said he had not been approached by Swiss police despite being named among 10 FIFA executive committee members being sought for questioning in a separate investigation into the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar.

"Nobody told me anything, neither contacted me for questioning," he said to reporters in his native Cameroon on Monday. "I've been accused for the last 20 years of being corrupt, especially by the Cameroon and French media, but it means nothing. That's just life."

(Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Martyn Herman; mark.gleeson@thomsonreuters.com +27828257807 Messaging mark.gleeson.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)

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