Sepp Blatter, the president of Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), announced his decision to step down from his position amid a corruption investigation. Blatter served as FIFA president since 1998.
Blatter’s decision came after he was re-elected last week. He plans to call a special congress as soon as possible to elect his successor.
In a statement, Blatter said, “I will organize extraordinary congress for a replacement for me as president. I will not stand. I am now free from the constraints of an election. I will be in a position to focus on profound reforms. For many years, we have called for reforms. But these are not sufficient.”
Blatter thinks his new mandate is not supported by everyone
Blatter added that even if he was re-elected as president by FIFA members, his new mandate “doesn’t seem to be supported by everybody in the world of football.”
Furthermore, Blatter emphasized that he appreciate and love FIFA more than anything else, and his desire is to do the best for football and the association.
According to him, he will urge FIFA’s Executive Committee to organize the extraordinary congress. He emphasized that the election of his successor should be done in line with the FIFA Statutes, and enough time is needed for the best candidates to present themselves and to campaign.
Blatter also pointed out that they worked hard to implement administrative reforms for years.
FIFA needs structural change
Blatter said FIFA needs “deep-rooted structural change.” According to him, the size of the Executive Committee should be reduced, and its members should be elected by the FIFA Congress.
According to him, it is necessary to impose integrity checks for all the members of the Executive Committee. The integrity checks must be organized centrally through FIFA and not through confederations. He also suggested term limits for all members of the Executive Committee.
“I have fought for these changes before and, as everyone knows, my efforts have been blocked,” said Blatter.
He believed that this time, he will succeed in implementing those reforms with the help of Domenico Scala, the independent chairman of audit and compliance committee of FIFA. Scala is also the chairman of the ad-hoc electoral committee. Scala will supervise the election of Blatter’s successor.
FIFA bribery scandal
The Swiss police arrested at least seven senior officials of FIFA on allegations of corruption and racketeering involving approximately $150 million in bribes and kickback over the past 20 years.
The United States made an extradition request, which prompted the Swiss police to arrest the FIFA officials.
Bloomberg noted a report on Tuesday indicating that Jerome Valcke, the secretary general of FIFA, made payments from FIFA to a bank account in New York overseen by Jack Warner, the head of the Central American and North American soccer confederation. U.S. prosecutors considered the payments ($10 million) as a bribe.
In a statement, FIFA explained Julio Grondona, the former finance committee chairman, who died last year approved the payments in 2008. The association said Valcke or other senior officials were not involved in the initiation, approval, and implementation of the payments.