FIFA President Sepp Blatter announces resignation in wake of corruption scandal
ZURICH — FIFA President Sepp Blatter will step down as head of world soccer’s governing body but only after the organization’s executive committee organizes a fresh vote “for the election of my successor,” he said Tuesday.
Blatter did not say when the election would be held but said it should before the next World Congress in May 2016. It cannot be held for at least four months, according to FIFA rules, Domenico Scala, chiarman of FIFA’s audit and compliance committee, said.
“The expectation is that this could take place anytime from December of this year to March of next year,” he said.
Blatter said the reforms he has tried to implement over the years have not been enough.
“I felt compelled to stand for re-election, as I believed that this was the best thing for the organization. That election is over, but FIFA’s challenges are not. FIFA needs a profound overhaul,” he said.
“While I have a mandate from the membership of FIFA, I do not feel that I have a mandate from the entire world of football — the fans, the players, the clubs, the people who live, breathe and love football as much as we all do at FIFA.”
Michel Platini, president of UEFA, European soccer’s governing body, has criticized Blatter in the past and told reporters last week that he had asked Blatter to bow out of the elections. He was one of the first to react to the announcement.
“It was a difficult decision, a brave decision, and the right decision,” he said.
Blatter won a fifth term Friday despite a week marred by arrests, investigations in the United States and Switzerland and questions about whether he was the man to rebuild FIFA’s reputation.
Blatter failed to get the required 140 votes in the first round of voting to prevail. Another round of voting was called, and because Blatter would need only a simple majority to win the second, his rival, Jordan’s Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, conceded.
The president of the embattled organization will continue his duties until a new president is elected, he said Tuesday.
Normally, the FIFA president is elected at the organization’s World Congress, the next one being scheduled in Mexico City on May 13.
Waiting until then to elect new leadership “would create unnecessary delay and I will urge the executive committee to organize an extraordinary congress for the election of my successor at the earliest opportunity.”
As he won’t be a candidate, he said, it will allow him “to focus on driving far-reaching, fundamental reforms that transcend our previous efforts. For years, we have worked hard to put in place administrative reforms, but it is plain to me that while these must continue, they are not enough.”