FIFA president Sepp Blatter's lawyer released a statement Friday saying that he will not resign from his position at this time, despite urgings from Coca-Cola and other FIFA sponsors.
“While Coca Cola is a valued sponsor of FIFA, Mr. Blatter respectfully disagrees with its position and believes firmly that his leaving office now would not be in the best interest of FIFA nor would it advance the process of reforms and therefore, he will not resign,” the statement said.
The statement comes in response to requests from Coca–Cola and McDonald's on Friday that Blatter immediately abandon his position as president.
“For the benefit of the game, The Coca-Cola Company is calling for FIFA President Joseph Blatter to step down immediately so that a credible and sustainable reform process can begin in earnest,” a Coca-Cola representative said. “Every day that passes, the image and reputation of FIFA continues to tarnish. FIFA needs comprehensive and urgent reform, and that can only be accomplished through a truly independent approach.”
McDonald's, also a FIFA sponsor, released a similar statement requesting the 79-year-old's immediate resignation.
“The events of recent weeks have continued to diminish the reputation of FIFA and public confidence in its leadership. We believe it would be in the best interest of the game for FIFA President Sepp Blatter to step down immediately so that the reform process can proceed with the credibility that is needed,” a McDonald representatives said.
On Friday afternoon, other sponsors like Visa and Budweiser also called for Blatter's departure.
Six days after being re-elected for his fifth term as FIFA president, Blatter announced that he would resign from the organization in the near future. His June announcement came after 14 soccer officials were indicted by the U.S. government last May on corruption charges. Swiss authorities also opened separate criminal proceedings against FIFA.
Last week, Swiss authorities opened a criminal investigation into Blatter's suspected criminal mismanagement and misappropriation of FIFA money. The investigation is ongoing.
- Kayla Lombardo