U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said Tuesday that FIFA president Sepp Blatter's decision to resign creates an "exceptional and immediate opportunity for positive change within FIFA."
Earlier on Tuesday, Blatter announced that he would resign from his position, to which he was reelected for a fifth term last week. Blatter's reelection and subsequent decision to resign comes amid a corruption scandal rocking FIFA.
Last week, 14 soccer officials and business partners were indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice on various corruption charges. On Monday, The New York Times reported that Blatter's top lieutenant Jerome Valcke had been implicated in a $10 million transfer to former CONCACAF president Jack Warner. The transfer was allegedly related to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Blatter called for an "extraordinary congress" to elect a new FIFA president. Blatter defeated Prince Ali bin-Al Hussein of Jordan—whom the United States supported—in last week's presidential election.
Gulati said he commended Blatter for stepping down and putting "FIFA and the sports we love above all other interests," and he said that the resignation represented a first step toward meaningful reform in the organization.
Gulati's full statement is below.
The announcement today by President Blatter represents an exceptional and immediate opportunity for positive change within FIFA. 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.
- Stanley Kay