Sepp Blatter Resigns as FIFA President

At 6:45pm in Zurich, Switzerland Sepp Blatter called an emergency news conference at FIFA headquarters. He said the following words:

“I have thoroughly thought about my presidency and the 40 years FIFA has played in my life. I love FIFA more than anything else and I only want to do the best. I decided to stand again for election for the good of football. My mandate does not appear to be supported by everybody. 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. We need a limitation on mandates and terms of office. I have fought for these changes but my efforts have been counteracted. FIFA’s interest are dear to me. That’s why I have taken this decision. What counts most for me, is the institution of FIFA and football around the world.”

With those words, Blatter (to borrow an English term) decided it was time to stand down. He resigned. He stepped aside after a hastily arranged news conference. However, he will continue to serve in office until the emergency congress convenes.

After Mr. Blatter announced his resignation, Domenico Scala, FIFA’s head of Audit and Compliance said the following words:

“I am dedicated to putting into place the conditions for the election of a new president. There will be reforms to how the elections are conducted. Under the rules governing FIFA, the election must be voted on by members at the FIFA congress. The president will ask the executive committee to form an extraordinary congress to elect a new president. While the timing will ultimately be up to the executive committee the timing of election likely to be between December and March. FIFA is determined to address the issues that are afflicting FIFA. We want to fundamentally reform the way in which people see FIFA.”

It must be noted 24 hours after Mr. Blatter’s re-election, David Gill, Vice-Chairman of the English Football Association (FA) rejected a place on FIFA’s executive committee.

“My professional reputation is critical to me. I simply do not see how there will be change for the good of world football while Mr. Blatter remains in post. This action is not something I take lightly but the terribly damaging events of the last three days have convinced me it is not appropriate to be a member of the FIFA executive committee under the current leadership. I do recognize that Mr. Blatter has been democratically elected and wish Fifa every success in tackling the many troubling issues it faces. I will continue to focus on my positions within the FA and UEFA, which I take seriously and am privileged to hold.”

Those words were important because Mr. Blatter has engaged in a war of words between western Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States. Mr. Blatter needed David Gill to smooth relations with those regions. With Gill refusing to go into battle with him coupled with sponsors raising questions and the FBI’s investigation, Blatter had no choice but to stand down.

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