Bomb threat at FIFA Congress confirmed by Zurich police
A Zurich police spokesperson has confirmed that a bomb threat was received at FIFA's 65th Congress on Friday, while world football's governing body initially rejected the reports as "nonsense."
The FIFA congress, opened by Sepp Blatter earlier on Friday in Zurich, broke for lunch at midday local time and was set to continue after an 90-minute break.
"Journalists have to leave their seats in the FIFA room for 75 minutes, because it needs 'cleaning,'" German journalist Jens Weinreich tweeted after leaving room.
Journalisten müssen ihre Plätze im FIFA-Saal für 75 Minuten verlassen, weil dort "gesäubert" werden muss. Sollte nicht besser die FIFA ...- Jens Weinreich (@jensweinreich) May 29, 2015
An hour later, at 13.00 local time, Swiss outlet Handelzseitung reported a bomb threat at the Congress with Zurich police spokesperson Marco Cortesi and FIFA both confirming the threat had been received at 11.00 local time.
FIFA had earlier rejected reports of the bomb threat, but a FIFA spokesperson later told Bild reporter Marc Schmidt: "We were caught flat-footed. We are now awaiting police instructions."
A Zurich city police press release read: "It was decided that the congress room will be searched by specialists from local police. The police action is still ongoing, but so far no-one had to be evacuated."
According to Sky News Germany, the congress room has since been shut with fireman currently at the scene.
The news comes after FIFA president Sepp Blatter appealed to delegates for unity after admitting that the events of this week -- with Swiss authorities arresting several top FIFA officials on Wednesday relating to federal corruption charges -- had "unleashed a storm" for world football's governing body.
The meeting in Zurich was briefly disrupted by two protesters who unfurled a Palestinian flag -- the Palestinian Football Association has demanded Israel be kicked out of FIFA -- before they were removed by security.
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Blatter, 79 will discover if he is to stay on as FIFA president for a fifth, four-year term as Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein goes up against the Swiss when the governing body holds its voting for the role on Friday.
Blatter's position has come under intense scrutiny in the wake of the week's event, with UEFA president Michel Platini saying on Thursday that the European organisation will unite behind Prince Ali.