It was meant to be the latest episode in embattled Fifa president Sepp Blatter’s self-styled bid to clean up the tarnished image of football’s world governing body.
Instead it descended into chaos and farce before it had even started, as British comedian Simon Brodkin ambushed a bemused Blatter and showered him with fake banknotes.
Blatter recovered his composure to confirm that his successor, which looks increasingly likely to be European chief Michel Platini, would be elected in February next year.
The 79-year-old, who was elected for a fifth four-year term in June but announced he would stand down days later following a series of arrests of Fifa officials on corruption charges, also revealed further details of long-awaited reforms designed to restore faith in the organisation.
“I will not be a candidate for the election in 2016 and there will be election for a new president,” he said, quashing speculation that his previous apparent resignation had been non-committal.
“I cannot be the new president because I am the old president. I wish good luck to all the candidates and also to Michel Platini.”
Brodkin – stage name Lee Nelson – has a history of similar stunts and interrupted rapper Kanye West’s Glastonbury show in June. He said as he threw the notes: “Here you go, Sepp, that’s for North Korea 2026.”
The stunt comes amid Swiss investigations into whether the votes for hosting rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, won by Russia and Qatar, were influenced by financial impropriety.
American federal investigators are also conducting a wider-ranging probe into Fifa corruption. Former executive committee member Chuck Blazer has already admitted accepting bribes in previous World Cup votes.
Blatter, who has not been accused of wrongdoing, said he had bowed to pressure from several sides to quit.
“It was not only the pressure of the authorities but also the pressure of the political interference and the pressure of the media,” he added. “I had to do something very special and I did it. I kicked the ball out of the field in order to stop something.”