Swiss police probe FIFA bomb threat; pro-Palestinian protesters ousted from soccer congress

A demonstration of around 50 anti-Israel, pro-Palestine supporters assembled in the road opposite the entrance to the Congress earlier on Friday.

May 29, 2015 11:22
1 minute read.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter speaks during the opening ceremony of the 65th FIFA Congress in Zurich, May 28. (photo credit: REUTERS)

ZURICH - Swiss police said on Friday they were investigating an anonymous bomb threat at the FIFA congress in Zurich that led authorities to search the premises.

The threat was made by telephone to a Zurich-based newsroom on Friday morning, Zurich city police said, adding that no one had been evacuated from the congress.

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However, participants in the world soccer congress, which paused for lunch 45 minutes earlier than expected, were initially denied re-entry into the auditorium while officers conducted a search, a Reuters witness said.

"A search was carried out. The premises have been cleared by the authorities," FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke told the congress after it resumed.

Congress participants and media representatives were let back into the auditorium following the search, with no additional security precautions.

Also on Friday, a female protester waving a Palestine flag and shouting at FIFA president Sepp Blatter was ejected from the FIFA Congress.

Blatter, sitting on the podium, called for security and the protester was led away by security officials.

The FIFA chief asked for all access points to be made secure as the protester carried out shouting.

An item on the agenda at the Congress has been tabled by the Palestine FA for the suspension Israel by FIFA.

In his opening address to Congress, Blatter said that he hoped to find a solution to the long-standing problems between the two associations during the Congress.

"Today, I am appealing to unity and team spirit so we can move forward together," he said.

"It may not always be easy but he we are here together today to tackle the problems that have been created. We are we are here to solve them."

Blatter, who has been heavily criticized for not doing enough to combat corruption in FIFA, is being challenged by Jordanian Prince Ali bin Al Hussein for the presidency of FIFA, the most powerful job in soccer.

A demonstration of around 50 anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian supporters assembled in the road opposite the entrance to the Congress earlier on Friday.

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