Sepp Blatter has stepped down as FIFA president amid the bribery scandal which has engulfed the football governing body.
In a stunning announcement today at FIFA HQ in Zurich, Switzerland, Blatter officially announced that he is to step down as head of FIFA, after 17 years as the most powerful man in football.
Blatter was re-elected as president on Friday but a press conference was hastily organised today, where the 79-year-old announced his decision.
I have been reflecting deeply about my presidency and about the forty years in which my life has been inextricably bound to FIFA and the great sport of football. I cherish FIFA more than anything and I want to do only what is best for FIFA and for football. I felt compelled to stand for re-election, as I believed that this was the best thing for the organisation. That election is over but FIFA’s challenges are not. FIFA needs a profound overhaul.
I am very much linked to FIFA and its interests. Those interests are dear to me and this is why I am taking this decision. What counts most to me is the institute of FIFA and football around the world.
Seven top FIFA officials were arrested last week as part of a U.S prosecution and investigation into bribery, corruption, fraud and money laundering.
Blatter is also now under scrutiny as the FBI investigate whether bribes were authorised by the world governing body and how big a role he could have played in the alleged corruption during his time in office.
A separate criminal investigation by Swiss authorities into how the 2018 and 2022 World Cups were awarded to Russia and Qatar is also under way.
FIFA are expected to organise an ‘Extraordinary Congress’ to elect Blatter’s successor at the earliest opportunity.
Good riddance. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Sepp.