FIFA president Sepp Blatter resigns amid corruption scandal
FIFA president Sepp Blatter will resign, he announced at a press conference Tuesday.
In the announcement, Blatter called an "extraordinary congress" to elect a new president. The congress will be held no sooner than four months from now, FIFA compliance chief Domenico Scala said after Blatter finished speaking on Tuesday. "[T]he expectation is that this could take place anytime from December of this year to March of next year," Scala said.
Blatter will remain president until the election.
The announcement comes in the wake of a Monday report in The New York Times which states that FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke, Blatter's top deputy, was the FIFA official who prosecutors say wired $10 million to accounts controlled by former CONCACAF president Jack Warner. Prosecutors allege that money was originally supposed to be paid to South Africa to support the 2010 World Cup and was instead paid to Warner as a bribe in exchange for three votes for South Africa's World Cup bid.
The Swiss attorney general announced in the aftermath that "Joseph S. Blatter is not under investigation by the OAG. His announced resignation will have no influence on the ongoing criminal proceedings."
However, ABC's Josh Margolin reports (via Darren Rovell) that Blatter is the subject of an FBI investigation in the United States.
UEFA president Michel Platini told The Guardian that Blatter's resignation was "a difficult decision, a brave decision, and the right decision."
The 79-year-old Blatter was re-elected to a fifth term as FIFA's president last week, just days after the U.S. Justice Department indicted 14 FIFA officials and business partners on a variety of corruption charges.
The Swiss was challenged in the election by Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan. Blatter fell seven votes short of the two-thirds majority required for election on the first ballot, but Hussein conceded the election before the second ballot.
The American investigation into FIFA's alleged corruption is ongoing. Blatter was dismissive when asked by reporters Friday if he feared he could be arrested next.
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch declined to address whether Blatter was a subject of the investigation. Richard Weber, the head of the IRS's criminal investigations unit, said last week that he is "fairly confident" there will be more indictments.
Swiss authorities have opened a separate criminal investigation into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
- Dan Gartland