Uruguayan football official Wilmar Valdez took over as interim president of scandal-hit South American federation CONMEBOL Friday after its previous chief was arrested in the FIFA corruption probe.
Valdez was previously the first vice president to Juan Angel Napout of Paraguay, who was arrested last week in a dawn raid on a Zurich luxury hotel -- the latest twist in the multi-million-dollar corruption saga at world football`s governing body.
Napout, a FIFA vice president who had been CONMEBOL chief since 2014, is one of 16 Latin American football officials indicted by US authorities last week.
Valdez, a former sportswriter, takes over CONMEBOL automatically on an interim basis.
Under CONMEBOL`s statutes, if Napout is unable to return to work, Valdez will have to resign his post as head of the Uruguayan Football Association and serve out his predecessor`s term until 2019.
CONMEBOL is the umbrella group for 10 South American football associations.
Of the 10 association presidents in office in 2013 -- the year CONMEBOL signed an allegedly graft-ridden TV rights contract with Argentine firm Datisa -- just one has not been implicated in corruption by the FBI: Uruguay`s Sebastian Bauza.
The scandal over allegations of multi-million dollar bribes for the awarding of tournament hosting rights and broadcast contracts has upended FIFA, leading to the suspension of long-time president Sepp Blatter and a string of other top officials.