FIFA President Sepp Blatter has resigned amid the growing scandal over massive arrests of top international soccer federation officials on charges of corruption and racketeering.
Blatter, 79, stepped down from his post just four days after being elected to a fifth term. He announced his decision at a news conference in Zurich after several more FIFA officials were arrested by the FBI at a hotel in the Swiss city six days ago.
Blatter has been at FIFA for 40 years, and served as president for 17 years; the third longest to head the sports group.
Last Wednesday, The New York Times reported U.S. authorities were preparing to charge FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke, Blatter’s second-in-command, in connection with a questionable transfer of $10 million.
The money was allegedly paid to “a high-ranking FIFA official” from the South African Football Association in 2008 as that country was bidding to host the 2010 World Cup. One of the top officials named in the U.S. Justice Department indictment a week ago voted in favor of South Africa at the time.
FIFA had denied that both Valcke and Blatter knew anything about the transaction – but as investigations by the U.S. government and Swiss officials move closer to the top, Blatter appears to be growing more uneasy.
New elections are to be called to choose a new leader.Hana Levi Julian