FIFA, UEFA study Lithuania corruption case

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GENEVA (AP) -FIFA and UEFA said Tuesday they are studying corruption allegations involving Lithuanian football federation leader Julius Kvedaras before deciding if he can remain one of their committee members.

A Lithuanian court has ordered Kvedaras to step down as LFF president for six months during a probe into whether he illegally took football funds.

Lithuanian media reports say the investigation involves project funding given by UEFA.

"FIFA and UEFA are closely following the situation and are in contact with the member association in Lithuania, and the relevant authorities," FIFA said in a statement. "FIFA and UEFA will formalize their position after fully analyzing facts."

Kvedaras is a member of FIFA's development committee which allocates millions of dollars each year in project funds for national federations. It next meets Sept. 25 in Zurich.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter has pledged zero-tolerance of corruption as part of his drive to reform world football after a series of bribery and election scandals.

Kvedaras also sits on UEFA's Football Committee which meets Sept. 26 in Warsaw, Poland.

"We are in the process of gathering additional information on this matter," UEFA said in a statement.

UEFA declined to comment on whether the case in Lithuania involves funds from its Hat-Trick program.

Europe's 53 football nations receive a combined ?100 million ($126 million) annually from the UEFA fund which helps pay for training and infrastructure projects.

Since 2007, Kvedaras has been a member of UEFA's football panel which "exchanges views on the protection and further development of the game," according to the football body's website.

His colleagues on the 16-man group include former playing greats Luis Figo, Matthias Sammer and Davor Suker.

Kvedaras was elected president of the LFF in March after serving as its general director.

The 62-year-old official is a former professional player and one-time assistant coach to the national team.

Lithuania begins its 2014 World Cup qualifying program on Friday at home to Slovakia in Vilnius.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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