New England Soccer Today

Blatter Resigns as FIFA President

Four days after he was elected to his fifth term as FIFA president, Sepp Blatter announced on Tuesday that he will step down, calling for an extraordinary congress to elect a successor.

Blatter made the announcement on at a press conference in Switzerland on Tuesday evening local time.

“We cannot allow the reputation of football and FIFA to be dragged through the mud any longer,” Blatter said at the press conference, that was televised live on Tuesday.

Said Blatter: “I cherish FIFA most of all and always try to do the best for football and the organization. I decided that I should keep running in elections. The election now is over, but the challenges remain.

“FIFA needs restructuring, the FIFA delegates have given me the mandate. But it is not supported by other members of FIFA and the clubs. Therefore, I ask to convene an extraordinary congress as soon as possible to elect my successor.”

Following the announcement, U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati commented on Blatter’s resignation in a press release.

“The announcement today by President Blatter represents an exceptional and immediate opportunity for positive change within FIFA,” Gulati said. “I commend him for making a decision that puts FIFA and the sport we love above all other interests. This is the first of many steps towards real and meaningful reform within FIFA. Today is an occasion for optimism and belief for everyone who shares a passion for our game.”

The announcement of Blatter’s resignation comes less a week after Swiss law enforcement, with the backing of the FBI, arrested seven high-ranking FIFA officials in connection to charges of money laundering, bribery and corruption. Additionally, the FBI handed down indictments on 14 FIFA officials, including former CONCACAF head Jeffrey Webb.

The U.S. Justice Department conducted a press conference announcing the charges shortly after the raid. Acting U.S. Attorney Kelly T. Currie of the Eastern District of New York said last week that Webb, “used his position of trust to solicit bribes from sports marketing executives.”

Currie also said that the investigation is “only the beginning of our work.”

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