US seeks extradition of 7 FIFA officials in Switzerland

Geneva,July 2: The United States has demanded the extradition of seven FIFA officials detained in May setting off what could become a prolonged legal battle over the handling of the major corruption case.

Swiss authorities said today that the US embassy in Bern had sent an extradition request the day before.

The seven were detained in a dawn raid on a Zurich hotel on May 27 as a FIFA congress was about to start. FIFA leader Sepp Blatter was reelected to a new term at the congress but amid a storm of controversy over parallel US and Swiss investigations, he announced four days later that he would stand down.

Blatter has not been accused by either inquiry and again strongly denied involvement in corruption in a German media interview released Wednesday.

The US legal authorities had until July 3 to make their request and a Swiss federal justice office statement said the embassy action was "within the timeframe set down in the bilateral extradition treaty" between the two countries.

The seven officials,all from South and North America and have all indicated they will fight extradition.

The seven held include Jeffrey Webb of the Cayman Islands and Eugenio Figueredo from Uruguay, who are both former FIFA vice presidents.

Costa Rican Eduardo Li was supposed to join the FIFA executive committee in May.

There was also Brazilian football federation chief Jose Maria Marin, Nicaraguan Julio Rocha and Costas Takkas, a Briton who worked for the Cayman islands federation and Rafael Esquivel, president of the Venezuelan Football Federation.

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