The Argentine legend has long-denounced corruption in the organization
Argentine soccer legend Diego Armando Maradona confirmed Sunday that he will run for FIFA's presidency, according to his friend and former co-host of a soccer show on teleSUR, Uruguayan journalist Victor Hugo Morales. “Diego will be candidate for FIFA (presidency), with all the authority he has, he has been in the front line fighting from that world of (soccer) players … Diego has been a spearhead to talk about corruption inside FIFA, and corruption within the AFA (Argentine Football Association),” revealed Morales, who currently hosts teleSUR's “De Chilena!” show. Morales confirmed the news in two tweets:
“I called Diego Maradona … He told me that he was going to be a candidate to be FIFA president and he authorized be to communicate it”
“I AM A CANDIDATE”: those were the words that DIEGO MARADONA said to me when I asked him about being a candidate for FIFA president”
Maradona has been a longtime critic of FIFA and its policies. During the last World Cup, the former star denounced FIFA for charging US$2 million dollars in transmission rights to Haiti, a country struggling to recover from a devastating earthquake in 2010. FIFA has been mired in scandal since seven of its officials were arrested when Swiss police swooped into a luxury hotel in Zurich ahead of the congress. The officials are set to be extradited to the United States, where they are suspected of receiving close to US$150 million in bribes.
Last week, Swiss officials also said they were investigating 53 new suspected cases of money laundering linked to FIFA. “Partly in addition to the 104 banking relations already known to the authorities, banks announced 53 suspicious banking relations via the Anti-Money-Laundering-Framework of Switzerland,” the country's Attorney General Michael Lauber stated, according to AFP. Lauber praised banks for reporting the “suspicious” transactions, but said a full investigation could take years. Some of the financial transactions are allegedly linked to FIFA World Cup bids, including those for the 2018 and 2022 games. According to Lauber, the investigation “does not exclude” FIFA's outgoing head Joseph Blatter from possible questioning, though he isn't under suspicion. Blatter announced plans to resign from his position at the soccer organization just days after being re-appointed as its head on May 30 during FIFA's annual congress. He is expected to step down by the end of the year, though earlier this week Blatter hinted he may reconsider.
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