FIFA President Sepp Blatter Resigns Amid Corruption Probe

AP Photo
The Associated Press

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.