MOSCOW, June 2. /TASS/. FIFA president Joseph Blatter is trying to save the world’s football governing body by announcing on Tuesday his intention to voice resignation at the organization’s extraordinary congress, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told TASS.
"His resignation came to me as totally unexpected," Mutko, who is also a member of the FIFA Executive Committee, said in an in review with TASS. "It is clear from Blatter’s statement that he wants to save FIFA and expects reformations in the organization to continue."
Blatter, 79, was reelected for his fifth consecutive four-year presidential term at the 65th FIFA Congress in Zurich last Friday, when his only rival Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan pulled out after the first round of vote.
Addressing a news conference in Zurich on Tuesday, Blatter said his reelection was not supported by everyone, therefore he decided to convene FIFA extraordinary elective Congress, where he would step down as the organization’s president.
"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," Blatter said in his Tuesday address.
"Therefore, I have decided to lay down my mandate at an extraordinary elective Congress," FIFA president said. "I will continue to exercise my functions as FIFA President until that election."
Last week Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan and Blatter, who has been at the helm of FIFA since 1998, were the only two candidates in the FIFA presidential election, held every four years.The Congress, which convenes annually, was marred this year by arrests of FIFA officials earlier in the week.
An unprecedented corruption scandal flared up in FIFA on Wednesday morning last week as seven of the organization’s high-ranking officials were arrested in Switzerland on bribery, money laundering and corruption charges. The scandal involves two separate criminal proceedings.
Firstly, the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York is conducting a criminal investigation into the awarding of media, marketing and sponsorship rights for soccer tournaments in the United States and Latin America. Secondly, the Swiss Office of the Attorney General is conducting a criminal investigation into the selection of Russia as the host country for the 2018 World Cup and Qatar as the host country for 2022.
The arrests of the seven FIFA top officials were made by the Swiss police at the request from the US authorities and they are now facing extradition to the United States.
The US Department of Justice said in its statement on Wednesday that a total of 14 people (nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives) were indicted for racketeering conspiracy and corruption.