Acting president of FIFA Issa Hayatou made headlines in his first press conference, saying that the organization is not corrupt.
The list over FIFA executives arrested grew by two as a Swiss police raid of the Baur au Lac Hotel in Zurich ended with Concacaf president Alfredo Hawit and Conmebol president Juan Angel Napout getting arrested.
Hayatou, who has been with FIFA for over 25 years, is the president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and took over the FIFA presidency when Sepp Blatter got suspended in September. He argues that FIFA is not corrupt, and that it just comes down to a few bad individuals.
“FIFA is not corrupt,” Hayatou told The Guardian. “We have individuals that have shown negative behaviour. Do not generalise the situation. There are lots of people in Fifa for more than 20 or 30 years that have not been accused of anything.”
FIFA has been heavily criticized for the way they operate, with little to no transparency, but Hayatou denied being part of the problem despite being in senior office for more than 25 years.
“The fact that I am here for so many years does not mean anything,” Hayatou said. “I have not been involved in any scandal as far as I know.”
Hayatou was accused of taking a $1.5 million bribe in 2011 from Qatar during the bidding process for the 2022 World Cup. Both Hayatou and Qatar denied the allegation and the whistleblower later retracted the claim.
“I would not be here if I was corrupt my dear friend,” Hayatou responded to a question on the subject. “Can Parliament prove I have $1.5m? I have not received one single euro or dollar to vote for anyone as host of the World Cup.”