World soccer’s top official, FIFA President Sepp Blatter, could face questions from Swiss investigators looking into the controversial 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process, which saw Russia and Qatar come out as the victors, respectively.
Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber told journalists Wednesday in the Swiss city of Bern that he did not exclude interviewing Blatter and Secretary-General Jerome Valcke as the investigation deepens.
Swiss authorities had previously said that Blatter, who has announced he will step down as president, was not part of the inquiry.
Lauber also warned that it was going to be a lengthy investigation and that Swiss law prevented him from revealing any detail about it despite what he acknowledged was “enormous public interest” in the case.
“The world of football needs to be patient. By its nature, this investigation will take more than the legendary 90 minutes,” he said, referring to the length of a soccer match.
Lauber added that so far, “the investigation is of great complexity and quite substantial. To give you an example, the Swiss Office of the Attorney General has seized around nine terabytes of data.”
FIFA has been embroiled in scandal since the United States indicted 14 people, including nine top FIFA officials, on corruption charges last month.
The Swiss probe is running simultaneously with the U.S. investigation, but they are being conducted independently of each other, Lauber said. Data gleaned by his investigators will not automatically be shared with the U.S. side.
In an interview with CNN, Lauber said the Swiss investigation had “a different target” than its U.S. counterpart and was at an earlier stage in the process.
The Swiss probe was opened in March “against persons unknown on the grounds of suspicion of criminal mismanagement and of money laundering,” he said earlier.