Global football ruling body, FIFA, says there is no reason for Swiss authorities to launch criminal proceedings against its president, Gianni Infantino, who will continue in his role as normal.
Swiss authorities had on Thursday said that proceedings had been launched against the current FIFA boss by a special prosecutor.
The judicial officer is looking into meetings Infantino had with the Swiss Attorney-General, Michael Lauber.
Lauber and Infantino have already denied any wrongdoing.
“There was and is absolutely no reason to open any investigation because nothing remotely criminal has happened and there is nothing at all to suggest any form of criminal wrongdoing,” said FIFA in a statement on Sunday.
It said that the meetings were not secret and took place in public places, such as hotels and restaurants, chosen by the Swiss Attorney-General’s office.
“FIFA and the FIFA President categorically deny any implication or suggestion that the FIFA President would ever have attempted to exert any form of improper influence on the Swiss Federal Prosecutor,” it added.
FIFA said special prosecutor Stefan Keller, who opened the proceedings, has “presented no serious elements or legal basis for the opening of any investigation and lacks any detail as to the substance of the case.”
It added: “The FIFA President will continue to fully assume his functions within FIFA and fulfil his duties and will continue to cooperate with the authorities in Switzerland and around the world.”
It will be recalled that former FIFA president Sepp Blatter had last week called for his successor, Gianni Infantino, to be suspended by the global soccer body after criminal proceedings were opened against Infantino in Switzerland.
“For me, the situation is clear, that the FIFA ethics committee has to open a case against Mr Infantino and so it has to suspend him,” Blatter, 84, said in a statement to Reuters.
Blatter, who was FIFA president for 17 years, himself was suspended and later banned by FIFA’s ethics committee after he became the subject of criminal proceedings in Switzerland in 2015.
FIFA’s ethics committee would not comment on whether Infantino, who was elected in 2016, would face an internal investigation.
“Please note that as a general policy, the Ethics Committee does not comment on potential ongoing proceedings nor on whether or not investigations are underway into alleged cases,” it said in an emailed statement to Reuters.
“As usual, any information the Ethics Committee may like to share will be communicated accordingly upon their indications.”
Blatter’s investigation is still ongoing. He has denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged. It centred on a payment of two million Swiss francs (1.6 million pounds) made in 2011 to then UEFA president Michel Platini with Blatter’s approval for work the Frenchman had done a decade earlier.
Blatter was banned for eight years, reduced to six on appeal, and Platini also for eight years, reduced to four. Platini denied wrongdoing.
The FIFA ethics committee is divided into an investigatory and adjudicatory chamber, which since 2017 have been headed by Colombian Maria Claudia Rojas and Greek Vassilios Skouris respectively.
They replaced Swiss Cornel Borbely and German Hans-Joachim Eckert who were ousted when the decision-making FIFA Council decided not to renew their mandates.