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Sepp Blatter, the president of FIFA and the most powerful man in world soccer, said Thursday that corrupt executives have brought “shame and humiliation” to the sport but are “in the thin minority.”
“I will not allow the actions of a few to destroy the hard work and the integrity of the vast majority of those who work so hard for football,” he said at the opening ceremony of the FIFA annual meeting in Zurich.
“There can be no place for corruption of any kind,” he said. “The next few months will not be easy for FIFA. I am sure more bad news will follow, but it is necessary to begin to restore trust in our organization. Let this be the turning point.”
Related: FIFA Executives Held Over Corruption
He said that he “cannot monitor everyone all of the time,” but he said it will fall to him to be responsible for the well-being of the organization.
Seven current or former FIFA executives were arrested in Zurich on Wednesday as American prosecutors, working with the Swiss, cracked down on what they called rampant corruption in soccer.
In all, 14 people were indicted, and four others previously pleaded guilty. Prosecutors said the executives took bribes and kickbacks tied to lucrative marketing and television deals. Executives were also accused of rigging the bid process for the 2010 World Cup.
Blatter himself was not accused of wrongdoing, but corruption allegations have swirled around him for years. He is up for re-election on Friday, seeking a fifth four-year term as president.