Sepp Blatter has announced that he will stand down as president of Fifa, less than a week after a US-led investigation arrested seven Fifa officials in a dawn raid in Switzerland.
The 79-year-old, who was re-elected for a fifth term last Friday, says he will give up his position and call an unscheduled meeting (an extraordinary elective congress) to elect a new leader for football’s governing body.
“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,” he said in a press conference on Tuesday 2nd June.
“Therefore, I have decided to lay down my mandate at an extraordinary elective congress.”
Blatter said he wanted “to do only what is best for Fifa and for football” and had “felt compelled to stand for re-election” but would not put himself forward in the new election.
Blatter has been president of Fifa since 1998, and so far looks to have weathered the storm of allegations aimed at other Fifa officials following the FBI-led investigation into corruption at the world’s football governing body.
Today he said he would now be in a position to pursue “fundamental reforms” at Fifa.
“Since I shall not be a candidate, and am therefore now free from the constraints that elections inevitably impose, I shall be able 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.The Executive Committee includes representatives of confederations over whom we have no control, but for whose actions FIFA is held responsible. We need deep-rooted structural change.”
Domenico Scala, chairman of the Fifa audit and compliance committee, said that the new election may not take place until at least December.
High-profile football pundits and fans – including Match of the Day host Gary Lineker, who has made no secret of his feelings about Blatter – took to Twitter to celebrate news of the Fifa president’s resignation.
See, sporting campaigns DO work – however hard it seems.
Blatter out, now let's get a batter in. #BringBackKP
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) June 2, 2015
"Have a nice day": parting words from #Fifa PR at end of conference during which Blatter resigned. Football certainly having a nice day now.
— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) June 2, 2015
Blatter has resigned. Can't quite believe it. FIFA always appeared to be such a fine upstanding organisation.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 2, 2015