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Sepp Blatter: We "welcome" arrest of corrupt FIFA members

FIFA President Sepp Blatter's 18-year run as president of soccer's world governing body has been mired with scandal since the beginning, but the man himself has always stayed just above the cut and never been directly implicated in any wrongdoing.

That incredible streak of standing in a corruption rainstorm and never getting wet continued Wednesday, when officials in Switzerland and the U.S. announced the opening of criminal cases for more than a dozen current and former FIFA officials. Blatter was not named in either probe.

His opponents have howled for his head, and one reason they often cite is that even if he is corruption free, he is terrible at stopping it.

Blatter, in a statement put out in response to the scandal, appeared to be tackling that criticism directly.

"While there will be many who are frustrated with the pace of change, I would like to stress the actions that we have taken and will continue to take," Blatter said. "In fact, today's action by the Swiss Office of the Attorney General was set in motion when we submitted a dossier to the Swiss authorities late last year."

Blatter was likely referring to the result of another scandal, when FIFA cleared itself of wrongdoing in the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups following an internal investigation.

The lead of that investigation, U.S. attorney Michael Garcia, cried foul last November at the publicly-released summary of his findings, saying FIFA's summary of his investigation had "numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts and conclusions" in his work.

Sometime after Garcia cried foul and threatened to bring legal action over it, FIFA submitted its "dossier" on those named in the investigation to Swiss officials.

Blatter said Wednesday the recent announcement of criminal proceedings and arrests were "welcome" by FIFA.

"As unfortunate as these events are, it should be clear that we welcome the actions and the investigations by the US and Swiss authorities and believe that it will help to reinforce measures that FIFA has already taken to root out any wrongdoing in football," Blatter said, adding that everyone named in the investigations was subsequently provisionally banned from all soccer-related activities.

Next up for Blatter is his reelection bid for a fifth term as president in May 29.

Both his opponent and European soccer's governing body, UEFA, have called for its postponement. So far, FIFA has insisted the elections will go ahead as planned.

Whether Blatter remains in the clear is uncertain. At a press conference Wednesday announcing the investigation and charges, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the "indictment is no the final chapter."

New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt told "CBS This Morning" that Blatter, whose reign as head of FIFA has seen both tremendous growth in the sport, as well as a long series of scandals, could still get swept up in the larger investigation.

"I don't think he's in the clear," Schmidt said.

Investigators are likely to wait to see what comes of the indictments of these senior FIFA officials, and later "look back and assess and see who they can go after," Schmidt said.