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Zico announces FIFA presidency bid as bribery investigations continue

As a first contender, Brazilian football legend Zico has announced his candidacy for the FIFA presidency. Swiss authorities on Wednesday seized computers and files at the federation's headquarters in Zurich.

Former Brazil football star Zico wants to run for the presidency of FIFA. Zico, whose real name is Arthur Antunes Coimbra, formally declared his candidacy for the FIFA presidency but admitted that there would probably need to be changes to FIFA's rules in order to make his run viable.

The 62-year-old former midfielder said that "there's a possibility now for change."

"Of course, changes in the rules of the game would be necessary. Mainly because, with the rules in place now there isn't the slightest possibility (of being elected)," Zico said.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter announced his resignation last week amid investigations by the US and Swiss authorities into alleged bribery and corruption involving the 2010, 2018 and 2022 World Cups. FIFA said that its executive committee would meet next month to choose an election date for the next president, possibly before the end of the year.

Competition for FIFA leadership

Potential candidates for the post would need the support of five national football associations in order to stand for election. Zico said he does not yet have that backing. All 209 FIFA member federations will join together in voting for a new president, with the current favorite being Michel Platini, the head of Europe's governing body UEFA. Prince Ali bin al Hussein, who stood against Blatter in last month's election, has also indicated that he could stand for the post again, along with former FIFA vice president Chung Mong-Joon of South Korea.

Zico, one of the best players in soccer history, has coached teams in Brazil, Japan, Turkey, Russia and Greece and was once Sports Minister in his homeland.

Investigators seize FIFA computers

Meanwhile, FIFA handed over computer data to Swiss police today, helping with the investigations into the campaigns that brought the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar. FIFA confirmed that computer data from its Zurich headquarters had been handed to Swiss prosecutors.

The authorities refused to reveal the identity of the individuals involved at the current stage of the investigations.

Bidding for the 2026 World Cup was meant to start this year and be decided at a congress in Kuala Lumpur in 2017. But the process has been halted on account of the ongoing corruption scandal.

"It was decided to place the administrative process on hold for the 2026 FIFA World Cup bidding due to the current situation," a FIFA statement said.

US authorities have charged 14 football officials and sports marketing executives over more than $150 million (133 million euros) of bribes. They include the seven suspects - two of them former FIFA vice presidents - currently detained in Zurich and fighting extradition to the United States.

ss/bk (AP, Reuters, AFP)

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