Embattled FIFA President, Sepp Blatter has denied that he offered his resignation on June 2 in the wake of the massive corruption scandal rocking the world football governing body.
Barely 24 days after the 79 year-old FIFA boss made a shocking decision to relinquish his post four days after winning his fifth term election, Swiss newspaper ‘Blick’ has quoted him as telling a party at a FIFA museum: “I did not resign. I put myself and my office in the hands of the FIFA congress.”
“Only those who know the past can understand the present and shape the future. Or in other words: the ball is round – but only those who come from outer space know the actual dimensions of our sport,” Blick quoted Blatter as telling his guests.
This follows media speculations that Blatter is considering rescinding his decision to quit the FIFA presidency again after being contacted by supportive national associations.
Blatter had taken to the podium on June 2 to announce he would be stepping down in the wake of unprecedented crackdown and investigations into alleged FIFA corruption dealings. With the Swiss reportedly under investigation in the United States, he offered to step aside. “While I have a mandate from the membership of FIFA, I do not feel that I have a mandate from the entire world of football. Therefore, I have decided to lay down my mandate at an extraordinary elective congress. I will continue to exercise my functions as FIFA president until that election,” Blatter’s statements read in part.
However, a careful review of the speech shows that Blatter did not use the words ‘resign’ or ‘resignation’, which could authenticate his latest claims that he did not actually resign.
Blatter’s resignation speech in full:
“I have been reflecting deeply about my presidency and about the forty years in which my life has been inextricably bound to FIFA and the great sport of football.
“I cherish FIFA more than anything and I want to do only what is best for FIFA and for football. I felt compelled to stand for re-election, as I believed that this was the best thing for the organisation. That election is over but FIFA’s challenges are not.
“FIFA needs a profound overhaul. While I have a mandate from the membership of FIFA, I do not feel that I have a mandate from the entire world of football – the fans, the players, the clubs, the people who live, breathe and love football as much as we all do at FIFA.
“Therefore, I have decided to lay down my mandate at an extraordinary elective Congress. I will continue to exercise my functions as FIFA President until that election.
“The next ordinary FIFA Congress will take place on May 13, 2016 in Mexico City. This would create unnecessary delay and I will urge the Executive Committee to organise an Extraordinary Congress for the election of my successor at the earliest opportunity. This will need to be done in line with FIFA’s statutes and we must allow enough time for the best candidates to present themselves and to campaign.
“Since I shall not be a candidate, and am therefore now free from the constraints that elections inevitably impose, I shall be able to focus on driving far-reaching, fundamental reforms that transcend our previous efforts. For years, we have worked hard to put in place administrative reforms, but it is plain to me that while these must continue, they are not enough.
“The Executive Committee includes representatives of confederations over whom we have no control, but for whose actions FIFA is held responsible.
“We need deep-rooted structural change. The size of the Executive Committee must be reduced and its members should be elected through the FIFA Congress.
“The integrity checks for all Executive Committee members must be organised centrally through FIFA and not through the confederations. We need term limits not only for the president but for all members of the Executive Committee.
“I have fought for these changes before and, as everyone knows, my efforts have been blocked. This time, I will succeed.
“I cannot do this alone. I have asked Domenico Scala to oversee the introduction and implementation of these and other measures.
“Mr. Scala is the Independent Chairman of our Audit and Compliance Committee elected by the FIFA Congress. He is also the Chairman of the ad hoc Electoral Committee and, as such, he will oversee the election of my successor. Mr. Scala enjoys the confidence of a wide range of constituents within and outside of FIFA and has all the knowledge and experience necessary to help tackle these major reforms.
“It is my deep care for FIFA and its interests, which I hold very dear, that has led me to take this decision. I would like to thank those who have always supported me in a constructive and loyal manner as president of FIFA and who have done so much for the game that we all love. What matters to me more than anything is that when all of this is over, football is the winner.”
By Olisemeka Obeche (with agency reports)