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Sepp Blatter issues response to FIFA investigations

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The FIFA president has welcomed the investigations by American and Swiss authorities.

Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has responded to the investigations launched on Wednesday by American and Swiss authorities that resulted in the arrests of numerous high-ranking officials. In a statement published on the website of football's global governing body, Blatter unsurprisingly sought to put a positive spin on things:

This is a difficult time for football, the fans and for FIFA as an organisation. We understand the disappointment that many have expressed and I know that the events of today will impact the way in which many people view us.

As unfortunate as these events are, it should be clear that we welcome the actions and the investigations by the U.S. and Swiss authorities and believe that it will help to reinforce measures that FIFA has already taken to root out any wrongdoing in football.

While there will be many who are frustrated with the pace of change, I would like to stress the actions that we have taken and will continue to take. In fact, today's action by the Swiss Office of the Attorney General was set in motion when we submitted a dossier to the Swiss authorities late last year.

Let me be clear: such misconduct has no place in football and we will ensure that those who engage in it are put out of the game. Following the events of today, the independent Ethics Committee - which is in the midst of its own proceedings regarding the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups - took swift action to provisionally ban those individuals named by the authorities from any football-related activities at the national and international level. These actions are on top of similar steps that FIFA has taken over the past year to exclude any members who violate our own Code of Ethics.

We will continue to work with the relevant authorities and we will work vigorously within FIFA in order to root out any misconduct, to regain your trust and ensure that football worldwide is free from wrongdoing

Blatter has courted controversy throughout his tenure as FIFA president, though he has thus far emerged unscathed from the investigations. FIFA's Director of Communications, Walter De Gregorio, described him on Wednesday morning as as "relaxed" about the events.

However, the investigation could well have implications for the FIFA presidential election due to be held on Friday, with some of the confederations -- including Michel Platini's European branch, UEFA -- having lobbied for a postponement. We await further developments on this front.