Sepp Blatter resigns as president of Fifa

 
Emma Haslett
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"Fifa needs a profound restructuring," said Blatter (Source: Getty)

Fifa boss Sepp Blatter resigned from his presidency of the organisation, after weeks of accusations in the run-up and following his re-election as president.

Read more: Blatter's Fifa reign is four times longer than the average FTSE boss

In a last-minute press conference called this afternoon, Blatter said the organisation "needs a profound restructuring", and added that he will call an extraordinary congress to elect a new president as soon as possible.

Blatter cut a humble figure as he addressed a sparsely-populated room.

"I have thoroughly considered my presidency and about the last 40 years in my life," he said. "These years were closely related to Fifa and this wonderful sport of football. I appreciate and love Fifa more than anything else."

"I decided to stand again to be elected [last week] because I was convinced it was the best option for football. The elections closed but the challenges Fifa is facing have not come to an end."

"I will not stand [at the extraordinary congress]. I am now free from the constraints of election. I will be in a position to focus on implementing ambitious reforms."

Read more: Fifa's crisis shows the need for individual, rather than cultural, change

But Blatter's resignation is the culmination of weeks of accusations which have drawn in some of the UK's largest banks, as well as World Cup sponsors, the UK's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the US Department of Justice (DoJ).

The organisation's decision to award Qatar the World Cup in 2022 was at first questioned, then heavily criticised when it emerged workers on the project were being mistreated, then the subject of a fraud investigation after six Fifa officials were arrested following an investigation by the DoJ. Sponsors including Visa and McDonald's voiced their concerns, threatening to pull their sponsorship of the organisation.

But despite calls to step down, Blatter stood for re-election last week, winning presidency for the fifth time after securing 133 of the 209 member association votes.

Earlier today, a letter dated March 2008 from the South African Football Association emerged, which appeared to request a $10m payment from Fifa was withheld from World Cup funds and instead paid into an account controlled by disgraced former vice president Jack Warner. The letter was addressed to Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke.

Yesterday the UK's secretary of state for culture, media and sport, John Whittingdale, waded in, echoing comments by Prime Minister David Cameron by saying "what remained of Sepp Blatter's credibility has been utterly destroyed".

BLATTER'S BEST BITS

On that South African payment
"The only thing I know is I have no $10m"

On the threat of arrest
"
Arrested for what?"

On sponsors threatening to pull funding
"I am sure I will bring them back with a personal visit to them"

On staying in charge
"It's very easy... I am still the man to solve these problems"

Read more

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