Despite Blatter's comments, FIFA says president still plans to resign
FIFA says that president Sepp Blatter still plans to resign later this year, despite published reports of Blatter saying the exact opposite.
But according to the Swiss paper Blick, Blatter, in his first public appearance since the announcing he was stepping down, told construction workers that are building FIFA's new museum in Zurich about his future plans.
"I have not resigned," Blatter said. "I put my mandate in the hands of an extraordinary congress."
“Only those who know the past can understand the present and shape the future. Or in other words: the ball is round—but only those who come from outer space know the actual dimensions of our sport.”
On June 2, Blatter said he would leave his post after 18 years of leading the world’s soccer governing body.
He said an extraordinary congress would be held between December and March to name his successor. FIFA's executive committee is scheduled choose an election date at a meeting next month. FIFA rejected any suggestions that Blatter would become a candidate again.
"We can confirm the quotes in Blick are accurate," FIFA said in a statement. "However, they are fully in line with the speech of the president on June 2."
Blatter’s resignation came after the United States Justice Department indicted and charged 14 defendants that same day with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies, accusing the men of decades of "rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted" corruption by former and current FIFA officials.
Blatter, 79, is reportedly under investigation for bribery and racketeering by several U.S. federal agencies and accused of corruption after being linked to officials taking bribes in efforts to secure lucrative broadcast rights and hosting votes for international tournaments.
The Sunday Times reported that Blatter and then-South African president Thabo Mbeki held “discussions” regarding a $10 million payment that allegedly went to corrupt FIFA soccer and marketing executives as payback for supporting South Africa's 2010 World Cup bid.
- Scooby Axson