FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, yesterday came under renewed pressure to resign before today’s planned presidential election of the world soccer governing body, after United States prosecutors unveiled charges detailing “rampant, systemic and deep-rooted” corruption at the organisation.
Blatter, 79, is seeking a fifth term as head of FIFA today, with his only challenger being Prince Ali Bin Al- Hussein of Jordan. Reportedly, Michel Platini, president of Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), was said to have asked Blatter to resign after the crisis talks at FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, which involved heads of the six international confederations.
World leaders have also added their voices, with the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, and Russia President Vladimir Putin taking different positions on the issue.
While Cameron is asking Blatter to resign, Putin has backed the Swiss.
Calls for Blatter to stand down follow Wednesday’s revelation by US prosecutors that sports marketing executives in the US and South America paid football officials more than $150m in bribes and kickbacks in exchange for lucrative deals to televise and market major tournaments.
Seven FIFA officials, including two vice-presidents, were arrested by Swiss police on US warrants in an early morning raid on the five-star Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich.
Seven other FIFA officials and sports marketing executives were also indicted. Platini’s UEFA described the development as “a disaster for FIFA” and called for a change of leadership. A statement added: “These events show, once again, that corruption is deeply rooted in FIFA’s culture.
FIFA has reacted by provisionally suspending the 11 football officials among the 18 people indicted and Blatter has issued a statement saying: “This is a difficult time for football, the fans and for Fifa as an organisation