Sepp Blatter Resigns as FIFA President
June 2, 2015
Sepp Blatter has announced that he will stand down as FIFA president, less than three days after being re-elected for a fifth term.
The Swiss has been in charge of FIFA since 1998 but on Tuesday an unscheduled press conference was urgently called at FIFA’s Zurich headquarters.
Blatter appeared to read a statement in which he said he would call an extraordinary congress to find a successor.
Despite winning the support of the majority of FIFA’s 209 member associations in Zurich on Friday, Blatter’s decision on Tuesday sent shockwaves around the sporting world.
This comes following the week in week FIFA was plunged into the worst crisis it has ever faced, with the US Department of Justice indicting 14 officials involved with the organisation over allegations of racketeering and corruption, and many more facing questions – not just by the US authorities but also by Swiss police. Last week it was announced a Swiss investigation had been launched into the awarding of the host rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar.
A hastily organised press conference caught most of the world’s media off-guard, with only a few journalists in attendance in Zurich compared to the hundreds the week before at congress.
In his prepared address, Blatter said: “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.”
The next FIFA congress is due to take place May 13 2016 in Mexico City but Blatter said this would “create unnecessary delay and I will urge the Executive Committee to organise an Extraordinary Congress for the election of my successor at the earliest opportunity”.
Also in Zurich was FIFA’s independent chairman of audit and compliance committee Domenico Scala who explained what the next steps in the process would be to elect Blatter’s successor.
Scala said: “Based upon the FIFA statutes, a four-month notice is required for any presidential elections to be held. FIFA must also consider appropriate time to vet candidates and allow them to present their ideas for the organisation that set forth their vision.
“Therefore, while the decision on timing of the Extraordinary Congress and election of a new President will ultimately be up to the Executive Committee, the expectation is that this could take place anytime from December of this year to March of next year.”
Blatter had insisted that in the meantime he would press ahead with promised reforms and Scala confirmed that FIFA will seek to implement integrity checks for all exco members.
Scala finished by saying: “Today, the President communicated his decision to all 209 Members. Now is the time for FIFA to move forward. 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. These steps will ensure that the organization cannot be used by those seeking to enrich themselves at the expense of the game.”
On Friday after his successful re-election, the most powerful man world football has arguably ever seen said “let’s go FIFA, let’s go FIFA!”
Now he is the one who has gone – leaving with the words: “What matters to me more than anything is that when all of this is over, football is the winner.”
Blatter’s full statement:
I have been reflecting deeply about my presidency and about the forty years in which my life has been inextricably bound to FIFA and the great sport of football. I cherish FIFA more than anything and I want to do only what is best for FIFA and for football.
I felt compelled to stand for re-election, as I believed that this was the best thing for the organisation. That election is over but FIFA’s challenges are not. FIFA needs a profound overhaul.
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. The next ordinary FIFA Congress will take place on 13 May 2016 in Mexico City. This would create unnecessary delay and I will urge the Executive Committee to organise an Extraordinary Congress for the election of my successor at the earliest opportunity.
This will need to be done in line with FIFA’s statutes and we must allow enough time for the best candidates to present themselves and to campaign. 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.
The size of the Executive Committee must be reduced and its members should be elected through the FIFA Congress. The integrity checks for all Executive Committee members must be organised centrally through FIFA and not through the confederations.
We need term limits not only for the president but for all members of the Executive Committee. I have fought for these changes before and, as everyone knows, my efforts have been blocked. This time, I will succeed. I cannot do this alone.
I have asked Domenico Scala to oversee the introduction and implementation of these and other measures. Mr. Scala is the Independent Chairman of our Audit and Compliance Committee elected by the FIFA Congress. He is also the Chairman of the ad hoc Electoral Committee and, as such, he will oversee the election of my successor. Mr. Scala enjoys the confidence of a wide range of constituents within and outside of FIFA and has all the knowledge and experience necessary to help tackle these major reforms.
It is my deep care for FIFA and its interests, which I hold very dear, that has led me to take this decision. I would like to thank those who have always supported me in a constructive and loyal manner as President of FIFA and who have done so much for the game that we all love.
What matters to me more than anything is that when all of this is over, football is the winner.