FIFA president Sepp Blatter chairs emergency meeting to manage crisis

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has chaired an emergency meeting with continental football bodies, while staying out of public view himself.

Blatter called together leaders of FIFA's six regions on Thursday as football's world governing body was plunged into crisis after a wave of arrests of football officials including two FIFA vice-presidents in Zurich on Wednesday on bribery, fraud and money laundering charges following an FBI investigation.

FIFA spokeswoman Delia Fischer said: "There was a meeting today with the president [Blatter] with the representatives from the confederations to discuss the current situation."

Blatter is resisting calls from European football's governing body UEFA to postpone Friday's FIFA presidential election by six months, while he is also avoiding appearing in public.

Blatter missed giving a scheduled speech to open a session of FIFA's medical conference in a Zurich hotel -- his third skipped public appearance within 24 hours.

FIFA's chief medical officer Jiri Dvorak said Blatter sent his apologies at being unable to attend the medical conference.

Dvorak told delegates: "President Blatter apologises for not being able to come today because of the turbulence you have probably followed in the media.

"He said he has to fulfil his duties in the management of the situation which is probably more important than to come to us, so he sends his sincere apologies."

In a separate development, the Swiss attorney general also opened criminal proceedings over the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, seized documents and electronic data from FIFA's headquarters and will question 10 current FIFA executive committee members who voted on that tournament.

Meanwhile. Russian president Vladimir Putin has accused the U.S. of meddling in FIFA affairs and trying to take away Russia's right to host the 2018 World Cup.