Blatter resignation fails to end FIFA storm
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is now looking into Blatter’s role in tens of millions of dollars of bribes given to football officials, according to US media.
Interpol meanwhile put six other suspects, including two former FIFA executive members, on its most wanted list.
Critics of the 79-year-old Swiss official rejoiced at his thunderbolt announcement on Tuesday that he would stand down as soon as an election can be held to find a successor.
His decision sparked a global race to take over as head of the world’s richest and most powerful sporting federation.
South Korean tycoon Chung Mong-Joon, Prince Ali bin <g data-gr-id="29">al Hussein</g>, who was beaten by Blatter in a vote last Friday, and Brazilian football legend Zico all said they could take part. Most eyes remain on Michel Platini, the UEFA president who has not given a hint of his plans.
But Platini did call off a meeting of the European confederation to discuss the FIFA crisis in Berlin on Saturday because of the “uncertain and unpredictable events” surrounding the world body.
Blatter, who has ruled FIFA for 17 years, won a fifth term in an election on Friday but renewed criticism of his reign and new corruption revelations about FIFA forced him into a corner. “While I have a mandate from the membership of FIFA, I do not feel that I have a mandate from the entire world of football - the fans, the players, the clubs, the people who live, breathe and love football,” he told a press conference late Tuesday to explain his decision.
Blatter vowed that in his remaining months in office he would “focus on driving far-reaching, fundamental reforms that transcend our previous efforts.” US authorities have charged 14 football officials and sports company executives over more than 150 million in bribes. US Attorney General Loretta Lynch refused Wednesday to comment on reports that Blatter is also <g data-gr-id="31">a FBI</g> target.
The New York Times, which broke <g data-gr-id="33">news</g> of seven arrests before the FIFA congress last week, quoted law enforcement officials and other sources to back their report that the FIFA chief is now in line.
ABC News said Blatter was part of the larger probe that led to the arrest of seven FIFA officials in a luxury Swiss hotel last Wednesday. “Now that people are going to want to save themselves, there’s probably a race to see who will flip on first,” one source told ABC News.
Pele calls for ‘honest people’ after Blatter quits
Brazilian football legend Pele called for “honest people” to clean up world football here after the shock resignation of FIFA supremo Sepp Blatter.
Speaking to the BBC on the sidelines of the New York Cosmos friendly match with Cuba in Havana, the 74-year-old three-time World Cup winner said FIFA must change after the corruption scandal that has rocked football’s governing body.
Pele, who had previously voiced support for Blatter following his re-election, described the football chief’s stunning fall from power as “unfortunate.”
“Everybody asks about Sepp Blatter,” Pele told the BBC.
“Of course, everybody was very surprised, not with Sepp Blatter but with FIFA. “I mentioned before he was the president for 20 years, <g data-gr-id="69">unfortunately</g> what happened, happened with everyone.