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Executive of scandal-plagued Fifa to meet

Scandal-plagued Fifa will be in the spotlight again this week during the first meeting of the world football body's executive committee since the suspension of secretary general Jérôme Valcke.

Executive of scandal-plagued Fifa to meet
Photo: AFP

The executive committee of the Zurich-based organization will be updated on the US and Swiss corruption investigations which involve some of its own members, football's governing body said.
   
President Sepp Blatter will also “very likely” take part in the press conference following the two-day meeting, a Fifa spokesman told AFP.
   
The session which will open on Thursday at 2pm local time and close on Friday afternoon, will be overseen by deputy secretary general Markus Kattner, who has stepped in to replace Valcke.
   
Valcke was put on indefinite leave last week over accusations that he agreed to let World Cup tickets be sold at a vastly inflated price.

The Frenchman strongly denied the allegations.
   
His eviction has only served to heighten the suspicion which is swirling around Blatter's final months in office with the election of his successor set for February 26th.
   
Fifa said in a statement that the executive committee agenda would include “an update on the Swiss and US investigations” as part of the corruption probe.
   
The 25 committee members, including vice-president Michel Platini, the UEFA president and favourite to succeed Blatter, will also receive a first update of the work of Swiss lawyer Francois Carrard, appointed by FIFA to carry out reforms in the wake of the corruption scandal that erupted last May, when seven football officials were arrested at a Zurich hotel on the eve of a Fifa Congress.
   
The seven Fifa officials were among 14 people facing charges in the United States over more than $150 million (137.87 million euros) of bribes for marketing and broadcasting contracts.
   
In parallel, Swiss investigators are looking into the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively.

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FOOTBALL

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame

A Swiss super fan who has shot to fame after images of him watching Switzerland’s win over France went viral told the media he was unaware of his viral fame - but that he was overwhelmed with the world’s attention.

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame
Image: Twitter.

Like most Swiss football fans, Luca Loutenbach’s Monday evening – highlighted by a surprise upset win over the current World Champions and tournament favourite France – went about as well as you could have expected. 

But while his side were putting on the pressure through late goals to push the game into extra time, Loutenbach’s image was being shared across the world. 

Two pictures of Loutenbach, juxtaposed from before and after Switzerland scored an equaliser in the 90th minute to send the game to extra time, were widely shared. 

The images were even shared by Sadiq Kahn, the mayor of London, who congratulated Switzerland and said the images summed up the beauty of football. 

On Tuesday, Loutenbach spoke with Swiss tabloid Blick to tell the story. He said he had no idea about the images as his phone had no reception in Romania – and only found out after the game. 

“I didn’t have a network during the game. But some fans around me were connected to the internet and quickly realized what was happening. What an incredible buzz!” said the man from the canton of Jura. 

While Switzerland have made it further than they have in their history in the tournament, Loutenbach is far from a bandwagon fan. He told Blick he’s seen around 50 national team games before. 

“It’s the most beautiful day in the history of Swiss football, let’s not be afraid of saying it. It is the accomplishment of the immense work of the ASF (Federation), of (coach) Petkovic and of the whole team” he said. 

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