Sepp Blatter calls it quits

Fifa's president Sepp Blatter has announced that he will step down.

Fifa President Sepp Blatter. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Just four days after being re-elected as the Fifa president for the fifth time, Sepp Blatter has in a shock announcement confirmed that he will step down.

Blatter said on Tuesday an emergency committee would decide his fate in May 2016.

"I will not stand and I'm free from the constraints of an election. I will be in a position to focus on implementing big and profound reforms. I have seriously considered my time as president and the last 40 years of my life. I stood again as president to be elected as I thought it was the best option. The elections are closed."

The world's football body has been embroiled in one of the worst bribery scandals in history over the awarding of world cup hosting rights.

The 79-year-old says an 'extra-ordinary election' for a new president will be held as soon as possible.

Blatter says he's not oblivious to public sentiment.

"Fifa needs restructuring and although Fifa members have given me the mandate as re-elected president, this mandate doesn't seem to be supported by everybody in the world of football."

His announcement comes six days after the FBI raided a hotel in Zurich and arrested several top Fifa officials.

For immediate action the president will now ask an executive committee to organise a congress in order to elect a new president.

According to protocol four months' notice is required for any elections to be held.

The new date for a re-election is up to the executive committee and the expectation is that it will between December 2015 and March 2016.


Earlier today, the sports body issued a statement denying that Blatter's right-hand man Jerome Valcke was involved in $10 million bank transactions under investigation by US authorities.

Fifa issued the denial despite the publication of a letter to Valcke outlining the payment relating to South Africa's hosting of the 2010 World Cup.

The letter dated 2008, from the South African Football Association (Safa) to Valcke, confirms a request of $10 million originally destined for the hosting of the 2010 World Cup be channelled instead to a development programme in Caribbean.

Fifa's statement confirms that the South African government did ask for the money to be diverted to the Diaspora Legacy Programme in the Caribbean instead of making its way to South Africa for 2010 showpiece.

It insists none of the body's senior management or Valcke were involved in the "initiation, approval and implementation of the project".

But Fifa spokesperson Walter de Gregorio told Eyewitness News that there is nothing new in the letter.

"The letter is consistent to our statement where we underlined that the Fifa finance committee made the final approval. In general, the Fifa secretary general is the recipient of all letters and requests to the administration and acts in accordance with Fifa's regulations."

Fifa added that due to the current situation, Valcke will not be attending the opening of the Fifa Women's World Cup Canada 2015 as previously scheduled.

"It is important that he attends to matters at Fifa's headquarters in Zurich," the football governing body said.

Safa has called an urgent press conference for Wednesday which will be addressed by Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula.