• Switzerland's news in English
Fifa corruption scandal
Blatter makes surprise resignation as Fifa head
Sepp Blatter leaves podium after announcing resignation. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Blatter makes surprise resignation as Fifa head

AFP/The Local · 2 Jun 2015, 19:37

Published: 02 Jun 2015 19:37 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The 79-year-old Swiss official, Fifa president for 17 years and only reelected at Fifa's 65th congress in Zurich on Friday, said a special congress would be called as soon as possible to elect a successor.

His resignation is a stunning turnaround coming after he vowed not to step down in the face of widening corruption allegations.
But Blatter told a press conference that the scandal-tainted Fifa needs "profound reconstruction" and that he had "thoroughly reconsidered" his presidency since his reelection.
He added that the vote "does not seem to be supported by everybody in the world of football."
His resignation came less than a week after Swiss police arrested seven Fifa officials, including two vice presidents, at a Zurich hotel.
The arrests were carried out on behalf of US prosecutors who accuse the seven, plus eight other suspects, of involvement in $150 million of bribes.

Blatter's change of heart also came after a New York Times report that his right-hand man, Jérôme Valcke, had approved the payment of $10 million from South Africa to an account controlled by Jack Warner, former head of the North and Central American and Caribbean confederation (Concacaf).

According to US investigators the money was a bribe promised to Warner, from Trinidad and Tobago, and his deputy Chuck Blazer, from the US, to secure the 2010 World Cup for South Africa.

Warner already faces charges from the US Department of Justice.

South Africa has strongly denied any wrongdoing.

And earlier today Fifa issued a statement denying that Valcke, the body's secretary general or any other senior official was involved in the "initiation, approval and implementation" of the transfer of money.

The organization said it has acted as an intermediary between South Africa and a World Cup legacy project to "support the African diaspora in Caribbean countries".

Fifa said that a former finance committee chief who died last year, Argentine Julio Grondona, authorized the payment which went to Jack Warner.

Story continues below…

Blatter also faced opposition from Uefa, the Swiss-based European football body, whose chief Michel Platini called on him to resign.

Responding to the Fifa president's announcement in a statement issued on Uefa's website, Platini said: "It was a difficult decision, a brave decision and the right decision."

Asked whether the Frenchman would be a candidate to succeed Blatter, the Uefa press service said there would "no more statements today."
While Platini had called several times for Blatter to resign, he announced last year that he would not be a challenger to Blatter at last week's congress.

However, Platini, who turns 60 later this month, has not ruled out standing in the future.

For more news from Switzerland, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.ch)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Police arrest brother of ‘murdered’ Swiss teacher
The victim worked in a school in Stabio, near the town of Mendrisio. Photo: Oliver Graf

The primary school teacher was found dead in Ticino earlier this week.

Inside Switzerland’s largest nuclear bunker – 40 years on
Designed to house 20,000 people, the bunker was built in and over two motorway tunnels. Photo: Unterirdisch Ueberleben

The Local takes a tour of the Sonnenberg bunker in Lucerne, opened 40 years ago at the height of the Cold War.

Ten Swiss ski resorts named most expensive in Europe
File photo: Renato Bagattini/Swiss Tourism

Skiers in Switzerland pay the highest prices for their ski passes of anywhere in Europe, according to research.

Eco group fights Bern over wind farm plans
There are currently more than 30 wind farms in Switzerland. Photo: Alpiq

Wind turbines are “gigantic and destructive” machines, says Paysage Libre Suisse.

Vegan wins battle to be accepted by Swiss army
Antoni Da Campo will now carry out his military service. Photo: Antoni Da Campo

A Swiss man who was told he would not be accepted for military service because of his strict veganism has finally succeeded in making the army change its mind.

Geneva terror suspects to receive compensation
File photo: Emran Kassim

The Swiss public prosecutor has dropped the case against them.

Ticino firefighters rescue cow from swimming pool
File photo: The Local

The cow was at risk of drowning after falling into the private pool.

Uefa Champions League
Basel 'ready for battle' in Champions League clash
Basel training in Paris. Photo: Franck Fife/AFP

Swiss champions Basel fancy their chances of springing a surprise when they face Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday.

Burst pipe causes major flood in Lausanne
The water flooded Place de la Riponne in Lausanne. File photo: Swiss Tourism/Christof Schuerpf

Water rushed down the streets after a pipe burst in the city centre.

Outcry after ‘neo-Nazi’ music festival held on Swiss soil
The village of Unterwasser was the tranquil location for the festival. Photo: Swiss Tourism

Should police have intervened?

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Photo: file
Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Photo: Royal Savoy
In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
Photo: File
Bern argues over passports for 3rd generation foreigners
Photo: Broad Bean Media
Muslim pupils must shake hands – ‘no ifs and buts’
jobs available