FIFA President Sepp Blatter is urging his colleagues to protect the rights of its stars, and to keep them out of the political fray.
The FIFA executive committee meeting on Thursday discussed the need to safeguard the rights and safety of players, Blatter said in a statement.
“This is a time when we need to speak out for the protection of the rights, safety and health of our players and supporters, and we must,” he said.
“We have to do so without being intimidated by those who are intent on undermining the fundamental principle of fair play.”
Blatter has not made a formal statement on the issue.
Blatter’s comments came just hours after U.N. human rights investigators accused the world governing body of failing to take adequate steps to ensure the rights were protected in its games.
FIFA’s own ethics committee had earlier said it was investigating the allegations, though Blatter did not name any members of his own team.
U.K. soccer team, Arsenal, said last month it was considering legal action against FIFA after it said its team received a phone call from a “senior member” of its football staff that said the group had lost the right to play in its final two World Cup qualifiers.
A spokesman for Arsenal said the club had no immediate comment.
UBS AG analyst Nick DePaulo said the call might indicate that FIFA was considering a move to investigate U.Y.C.C., an organization representing professional soccer players in the United States.
Ubs is a shareholder in Arsenal, while Arsenal shares are owned by UBS.
“The calls to the U.G.
S team are interesting,” DePaulos said.
DePaulowitz said he would expect to hear more about the matter from FIFA at the meeting, and added that he was not sure what Blatter was talking about.
Blair has called for U.L.A. to withdraw from the World Cup, citing the safety concerns associated with the tournament.
Blairs U.C.-San Diego team has been in the World Cups qualifying phase for the past four years.
UCSD coach Bob Graham told reporters in January that the team had been told by FIFA that it would have to move to a stadium in Santa Clara, California, in 2020 to play the 2022 tournament.
Graham also said that U.U.L., an independent governing body in the U, had not made any attempt to reach out to UBS to secure their support for the move.
Soccer Federation (USSF) has not yet responded to a request for comment.