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German football reacts to FIFA scandal

Senior members of the German Football League organization and the German FA have spoken up about the FIFA controversy on Wednesday. Even sports manufacturer Adidas has made a statement.

German football functionaries have publically expressed criticism, following the detaining of FIFA officials in Zurich on Wednesday under suspicion of corruption.

"It would be shocking if the grave allegations against FIFA members turn out to be true," said German Football Association president Wolfgang Niersbach in a statement. "What's happening in Zurich, days ahead of the FIFA congress, is shocking and harmful for the whole of football."

Swiss authorities carried out six arrests in the early hours of Wednesday, before apprehending a seventh FIFA official hours later. In addition, Swiss prosecutors opened a separate probe into possible corruption around the World Cup host election for 2018 and 2022, seizing documents and other information at FIFA headquarters.

Rauball speaks out

Reinhard Rauball, the head of the German Football League (the organization responsible for running the Bundesliga), was even tougher in his assessment.

"The things that have been revealed today go beyond anyone's wildest imagination," he said. "It would be absolutely the wrong signal to return to business as usual at the FIFA congress."

He even hinted that the best step would be for FIFA president Sepp Blatter to resign.

"Sepp Blatter - whether he is directly involved or not - should do football a favor. Things can't go on like this."

Even German sports goods manufacturer Adidas had something to say on Wednesday too, saying in a press release that it expected the "highest ethical standards" from FIFA, an organization which it has sponsored for years.

Ahead of the elections

The 209 members of the FIFA congress are due to meet in Zurich on Friday, May 29, to decide on a new president as well as vote on other matters. Blatter, who is up against Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan in the race for the presidency, is widely expected to win a fifth term despite the events this week.

European soccer's governing body UEFA has made it clear for months that it opposes a re-election of Blatter and that it supports challenger Prince Ali in Friday's election.

DFB boss Niersbach said an informal UEFA meeting in Warsaw ahead of Wednesday's Europa League final would deal with the latest controversy at FIFA.

"We will discuss within UEFA how to act at the upcoming congress in the wake of these incidents," Niersbach said.

al/asz (dpa, SID, Reuters)

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