FIFA President, Sepp Blatter has resigned amid the bribery scandal rocking the federation.
In an astonishing announcement at FIFA Headquarters in Zurich, Blatter revealed that he is walking away after 17 years as the most powerful man in football.
Blatter is currently under the microscope as the FBI investigates whether bribes were authorised by the world governing body.
In announcing his exit, the 79-year-old Swiss has called an extraordinary FIFA congress “as soon as possible” to elect a new president.
Speaking yesterday, Blatter said: “I have thoroughly considered and thought about my presidency and the last 40 years in my life. These years were closely related to FIFA and the wonderful sport of football. I appreciate and love FIFA more than anything else.
“I only want to do the best for FIFA and my institution. I decided to stand again as the best option for football. The elections are closed but the challenges we face haven’t come to an end. FIFA needs restructuring. Although FIFA have given me a new mandate, it doesn’t seem to be supported by everyone – fans, clubs -those who inspire FIFA like we do.
“This is why we will cause a process, it will be held to. I will continue to exercise my function as president at FIFA until next time. The new elections will be held until in Mexico.
“I will not stand of course and I am free from the constraints of an election. I will be free to focus on an election.
“We need a structural change of profile change. We need to look at the profiles and attitude of all the members. We need limitations on mandate in terms of office presidency for the president.
“I am very much linked to FIFA and its interests which are very dear to me. I repeat what counts most to me is the institution -FIFA and football around the well. Thank you very much for your kind attention.”
It comes on the day FIFA was plunged into fresh turmoil after an explosive letter appeared to contradict its claims that Sepp Blatter’s right-hand man was not involved in the payment of an alleged $10million bribe.
The payment is at the heart of an FBI probe which claims the money was given to disgraced former vice-president, Jack Warner and his deputy, Chuck Blazer in return for them voting for the 2010 World Cup to be played in South Africa.
Secretary General, Jerome Valcke was last night suspected of signing off the payment, but FIFA issued a statement robustly denying he had any involvement.
They insisted it was instead authorised by Julio Grondona, the former finance chief and Blatter’s long-time ally who died last year.
However, just an hour later, a letter from the South African Football Association emerged that appeared to blow apart those claims.
Blatter is the eighth president of FIFA. He was first elected President of FIFA on 8 June 1998 at the 51st FIFA Congress. He succeeded João Havelange who had held the presidency since 1974. He was re-elected as president in 2002, 2007, 2011, and 2015. Prior to his presidency, Blatter had been a public relations executive at various organizations, including the Swiss watch manufacturer Longines, and had served as the general secretary of FIFA, 1981 and 1998.

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