02 June 2015

Sepp Blatter has resigned the FIFA presidency

In a stunning announcement made early on Tuesday afternoon in Zurich, Sepp Blatter announced his resignation as president of FIFA. This news came only five days of Blatter being elected to an fifth term as FIFA president, even as the election was forced to a second ballot by FIFA Vice President for Asia Prince Ali of Jordan, where Blatter said that he was "the president of everybody." Of course, FIFA has been dogged over the past week by the indictment of nine FIFA officials, and 14 overall, by the Department of Justice on charges of racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering as part of a "24-year scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer."

Watch some of the announcement below.

He said that "FIFA needs a profound overhaul" and that "we need deep-rooted structural change." Furthermore, he said that:
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 - the fans, the players, the clubs, the people who live, breathe and love football as much as we all do at FIFA.
Therefore, I have decided to lay down my mandate at an extraordinary elective congress. 
I will continue to exercise my functions as FIFA president until that election. 
Domenico Scala, chairman of the FIFA compliance committee, says that due to a four-month period needed before any election could be held, his expectation would be that such a election will take place at some point between December and next March. He also said that term limits will be proposed for both the president and for the Executive Committee, "integrity checks" for all ExCo members as well as publishing the salaries for both the president and the ExCo members.

Blatter was not charged last week but these indictments were certainly a significant threat to him. That's not to mention news broken yesterday that FIFA secretary general Jérôme Valcke, the right-hand man to Blatter, was the FIFA official not previously named that made $10 million in bank transactions from FIFA to accounts controlled by former FIFA vide president and CONCACAF president Jack Warner, one of the key pieces of Wednesday's indictment which accusing Warner of accepting a bribe to put the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. That brought the corruption chargers and the money trail closer to Blatter than it had been beforehand and perhaps may have played a role in Blatter's stunning announcement today. And then there's this:
This is huge news and thus have been very warmly received by the soccer community to this point. However, Blatter was not the sole cause of all the corruption in FIFA and in international football at-large where it runs rampant. There is no guarantee that Blatter's successor will root out all the issues in FIFA, or will be any better than his predecessor. But change has to start somewhere and one has to believe that it starts today.

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