FORMER European football chief Lennart Johansson has called on embattled Fifa president Sepp Blatter to bring forward his departure and leave the crisis-hit organisation immediately.
Blatter, 79, announced he would be stepping down on Tuesday, just days into his fifth four-year term, amid a corruption storm that saw seven Fifa officials indicted last week. A new election may not take place until as late as March 2016, meaning Blatter would remain in charge until then, but Johansson, who stood against the Swiss in 1998, has urged him to go now.
“He must go immediately,” said the Swede. “People want us to be clean. You are seeing when he turned up at any match they were booing him. They really showed they were not satisfied. I think the investigation going on has told him that they will find out exactly what was done and by whom.”
America’s Department of Justice allege Fifa officials were involved in corrupt practices worth as much as $150m. Swiss authorities have launched a separate investigation into the process that saw Russia and Qatar named hosts of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
German’s football chief, meanwhile, has criticised Fifa for paying the Irish Football Association (FAI) €5m to drop a legal battle following the infamous Thierry Henry handball in 2009.
Henry’s cheating set up William Gallas to score a goal that denied the Republic of Ireland a place at the 2010 World Cup. The FAI threatened a lawsuit until Fifa offered to write off a loan.