Newly re-elected FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, announced he has resigned his position. At a news conference in Zurich, the man who led the world’s soccer governing body for 17 years, made the announcement rather abruptly. The announcement comes in the wake of an international corruption inquiry.
In a short speech delivered at FIFA headquarters, 79-year-old Blatter spoke in French saying “FIFA needs a profound restructuring” and it is for this reason he decided to move away from FIFA where he held various positions for nearly 40 years.
Blatter then referred to his recent re-election, which was his fifth presidential term in a row saying, “Although the members of FIFA have given me the new mandate, this mandate does not seem to be supported by everybody in the world of football.”
However, Blatter’s resignation is not effective immediately. According to Domenico Scala, the independent chairman of FIFA’s audit and compliance committee, FIFA’s rules state that at least four months’ notice must given for the mandatory meeting in where FIFA’s member nations elect a new president. Scala indicated that a likely time for such a meeting would fall between December 2015 and March 2016.
In the meantime, Blatter will carry on with his normal duties, one of which was focusing on a program of reform that is to be driven by Mr. Scala.
“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,” Mr. Blatter said. “We need deep-rooted structural change.” Blatter mentioned that reshaping of the executive committee, including the limitation of terms, is needed.
Scala says that “nothing will be off the table” in terms of reform saying, “There is significant work to be done in order to regain the trust of the public and to fundamentally reform the way in which people see FIFA,” Mr. Scala said. “These steps will ensure that the organization cannot be used by those seeking to enrich themselves at the expense of the game.”
Although Mr. Blatter was not directly implicated in the initial indictment, his top deputy Jérôme Valcke, has since been linked to wire transfers involving payments believed to be World Cup bribes. Valcke denied involvement and FIFA released a statement attempting to distance him from the transaction. Blatter gave a hasty resignation a day later.