FIFA President Joseph ‘Sepp’ Blatter on Tuesday resigned in Zurich amid a widening corruption scandal that lingers over the world football governing body. Sepp Blatter, the most powerful man in world sports, just last week was re-elected as the President of Federation of International Football Association for the fifth term.
After tendering his resignation, the 79 year-old Swiss official and the FIFA president for the last 17 years told the press that a special congress would be called as soon as possible to elect a new successor. Blatter said that the scandal-tainted FIFA needs “profound reconstruction” and that he had “thoroughly reconsidered” his presidency since his re-election.
He further added that the vote “does not seem to be supported by everybody in the world of football.”
His resignation came less than a week after Swiss police arrested seven FIFA officials, including two vice presidents, at a Zurich hotel ahead of the FIFA congress.
The arrests were carried out on behalf of US prosecutors who accuse the seven, and eight other suspects, of involvement in $150 million of bribes.
In a FIFA Congress in Zurich last week Friday, Blatter had managed to get votes of 133 member nations in the first round. Blatter had fallen short of 7 votes to secure two-third majority. This pushed the election process into the second round but Blatter’s opponent Jordan’s Prince Ali bin Al Hussein conceded defeat before the round began.
Just 3 days before the Zurich Congress, top FIFA officials and corporate executives were arrested on multi-million dollar corruption charges, sending out shock waves and outrage in the sporting community. FIFA honchos are accused of amassing millions of dollars in cases relating to fraud, bribery and money laundering.
(With inputs from PTI)