FIFA President Sepp Blatter Resigns Amid Corruption Probe

FIFA President Sepp Blatter resigned on Tuesday.

The resignation comes just four days after Blatter won reelection to a fifth term and less than a week after a raid led to police taking away more than a half dozen of Blatter’s allies from a Zurich hotel. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch alleges that FIFA officials took $150 million in bribes.

Blatter, speaking in French, said on Tuesday:

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 resignation comes on the heels of the publication of a letter that linked Jerome Valcke, a close Blatter associate, to a $10 million payment from South Africa, host of the 2010 World Cup, to FIFA officials charged with corruption.

Blatter says he will work to uproot corruption until a replacement relieves him and he advocates for a special election to find a new president “at the earliest opportunity.”

Blatter has served in the position since 1998.

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