Bomb alert briefly interrupts FIFA congress in Zurich
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Bomb alert briefly interrupts FIFA congress in Zurich

Auditorium where top members of soccer’s governing body are meeting evacuated, but no explosives found

FIFA president Sepp Blatter delivers a speech during the 65th FIFA Congress held at the Hallenstadion in Zurich, Switzerland, Friday, May 29, 2015, where he ran for re-election. (Walter Bieri/Keystone via AP)
FIFA president Sepp Blatter delivers a speech during the 65th FIFA Congress held at the Hallenstadion in Zurich, Switzerland, Friday, May 29, 2015, where he ran for re-election. (Walter Bieri/Keystone via AP)

Zurich police Friday responded to a bomb alert at the venue where FIFA is hosting its widely-watched annual congress, amid a massive corruption scandal rocking world football’s governing body.

No explosives were found, however, and the congress’s proceedings resumed after a brief delay.

Zurich police spokeswoman Brigitte Vogt confirmed to AFP that a bomb alert had been received at the venue.

“The police are there,” she said, refusing to provide further details. An AP reporter at the scene said the Hallenstadion’s concert hall auditorium in the venue was cleared, but the building itself was not evacuated.

Earlier, FIFA president Sepp Blatter appealed for unity among football’s warring factions as he opened the congress of the world ruling body overshadowed by a major corruption scandal. He called for “discipline and fair play” from the FIFA representatives.

Blatter told delegates that the arrest of seven top FIFA officials in Zurich on Wednesday had unleashed a “storm”, but added: “Today I appeal for a team spirit, unity, so we can advance together. It may not be easy but that is why we are here today.”

FIFA will hold a presidential election on Friday and Blatter is favorite to win having defiantly rejected calls by UEFA leader Michel Platini to stand down.

FIFA is also set to vote on a Palestinian call to ban Israel from world soccer for alleged restrictions on the movement of Palestinian players.

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