Sepp Blatter announced Tuesday that he would resign as FIFA president after the corruption scandal rocked the organization last week ahead of his re-election and now more indictments could be possible in the case and the entire executive committee could be reformed under new leadership.
According to the New York Times, Blatter has announced his resignation and that he would step down as the president of FIFA after serving multiple terms. The Times writes that Blatter and "his predecessor, Joao Havelange, have led FIFA since 1974" and this move marks a major shift for the organization, which is considered to be the most powerful in sports. Blatter's second in command Jerome Valcke has also come under fire, as evidence points to him being "aware of a $10m payment from South Africa to Jack Warner."
FIFA runs the World Cup and the organization has been criticized for operating without transparency for years, including in the bid process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in Russia and Qatar. Domenico Scala, who is the FIFA head of audit and compliance said that "Nothing will be off the table" regarding reforms in the Executive Committee, according to the NY Times.
"I appreciate and love FIFA more than anything else," Blatter said, according to the NY Times. "And I only want to do the best for FIFA."
Blatter was re-elected last week as President, defeating Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan after he received 133 votes and that came after a major scandal that has rocked the soccer world. Coming into the election, Blatter was expected to win another term and he did it with 133 votes against the 73 votes for Ali. Now Blatter will be done and it comes after numerous higher ups in FIFA were arrested in a corruption probe.
Blatter was not charged in the first wave of indictments, but reports say more could be coming. FIFA has been dogged by rumors that the World Cup bids for 2018 and 2022 have been soiled by corruption and now it looks like that is confirmed. The bids for Russia and Qatar have been criticized since they were announced, but FIFA has not been transparent about how those deals went down.
Swiss authorities previously arrested a number of FIFA officials in Switzerland in an early morning sweep that came after charges that were backed from an F.B.I. investigation. The case included bribery issues, World Cup bid corruption, bribes involving marketing and more, although so far Blatter has not been charged.
This case now could blow open the organization. According to the NY Times, the soccer officials charged in the case are Mr. Li, Jeffrey Webb, Eugenio Figueredo, Jack Warner, Julio Rocha, Costas Takkas, Rafael Esquivel, José Maria Marin and Nicolás Leoz.