International

Blatter: FIFA needs profound reconstruction

2015-06-02 20:01
Sepp Blatter. (AFP)

Zurich - Sepp Blatter resigned as president of FIFA on Tuesday as a mounting corruption scandal engulfed world soccer's governing body.

The 79-year-old Swiss official, FIFA president for 17 years and only re-elected on Friday, said a special congress would be called as soon as possible to elect a successor.

Blatter said that the scandal-tainted FIFA needs "profound reconstruction" and that he had "thoroughly reconsidered" his presidency since his re-election.

He added that the vote "does not seem to be supported by everybody in the world of football."

US prosecutors

His resignation came less than a week after Swiss police arrested seven FIFA officials, including two vice presidents, at a Zurich hotel.

The arrests were carried out on behalf of US prosecutors who accuse the seven, and eight other suspects, of involvement in $150m of bribes.

Blatter said he would remain in office as an interim leader until the election.

The chairperson of FIFA's independent audit and compliance committee, Domenico Scala, said the special congress cannot be held until between December 2015 and March 2016.

Critics were quick to welcome Blatter's shock announcement, though some praised him.

Corruption scandal

"It was a difficult decision, a brave decision, and the right decision," said UEFA president Michel Platini, a former ally who last week told the FIFA president to his face that he should leave.

Meanwhile Blatter's resignation was hailed as "great for football" by one of his chief critics, English FA chief Greg Dyke.

Speaking in London, Dyke, who earlier said that he had lost faith in Blatter last year, made the point that the 79-year-old Swiss realised the mounting corruption scandal that has engulfed FIFA "was getting close to him".

Reuters reported from Zurich that Switzerland's office of attorney general (OAG) said on Tuesday it was not investigating Blatter.

"Blatter's resignation will have no influence on the ongoing criminal proceedings," the attorney general said in a brief statement.

The attorney general, which has opened criminal proceedings against persons unknown on suspicion of criminal mismanagement and of money laundering alongside a far wider US corruption investigation into FIFA, said it would release no further information.

Read more on:    fifa  |  sepp blatter  |  soccer  |  fifa bribery scandal
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