Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Shamed Sepp Blatter walks out on Fifa as FA chief Dyke claims president has left smoking gun after shock exit

By Sam Wallace

Published 03/06/2015

Out the door: Sepp Blatter’s reign as President of Fifa is over after his shock resignation announcement
Out the door: Sepp Blatter’s reign as President of Fifa is over after his shock resignation announcement

The FA chairman, Greg Dyke, said last night that there must be a "smoking gun" that forced Sepp Blatter's shock resignation as Fifa president just four days after the 79-year-old was re-elected for a fifth term.

In a scathing attack on the Fifa president, who said he would step down at an extraordinary Fifa Congress to be held between December and March, Dyke said that there must have been a major change in Blatter's situation between Friday and yesterday evening, when he stunned world football by announcing that he was to step down.

Dyke said that Blatter's demeanour had changed entirely since the Fifa Congress in Zurich on Friday when he was voted in by 133 out of Fifa's 209 football nations.

In his press conference yesterday Blatter said that he no longer had "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".

He added: "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."

Dyke said: "I don't believe a word of this. If he believes that why not step down last week when we asked him to?

"He was cock-a-hoop when he won the election and terribly arrogant.

"Clearly there is a smoking gun of some sort. This is nothing to do with Mr Blatter being honourable. He hasn't been honourable for years."

The true reasons behind Blatter's volte-face had not yet emerged last night, but many believe that after he hands over to his successor he will work for Russia, the hosts of the 2018 World Cup finals, and be supported by his ally President Vladimir Putin. Soon after Blatter's announcement, the Office of the Attorney General in Switzerland said that Blatter was not among those under investigation for fraud and money laundering.

Dyke said that Blatter's impending departure was "brilliant for world football". Referring to the US department of justice-led FBI raid on the Fifa executive committee's Swiss hotel and the Swiss investigation into Fifa, Dyke said recent events had been "appalling" for Fifa.

"Fifa needs to be examined root and branch. We need to understand where the money is being spent and what is the best way to organise it," he said.

"Fifa has been a corrupt organisation for 30 years and at long last we have the chance to change it. We can sort out Fifa and look at these two World Cups (2018 and 2022). If I was in Qatar (the hosts of the 2022 World Cup) I wouldn't be feeling very confident."

Blatter's decision represents a major boost for the English FA, who are longstanding opponents of the Fifa president and campaigners for Fifa reform. The new English vice-president of Fifa, David Gill, who had said that he would not take up the role in the light of Blatter's re-election confirmed last night that he would now seek to reverse that decision in the light of developments. Gill said: "I simply could not countenance serving on the Fifa executive committee alongside Mr Blatter.

"I respect his decision but am pleased he is standing aside and by the clear determination for real change within Fifa. This in turn allows me to reconsider my position."

Uefa president Michel Platini, one of the favourites to succeed Blatter, issued a short statement calling his announcement "a difficult decision, a brave decision and the right decision". In the immediate aftermath, the former presidential candidates Prince Ali Bin-Hussein of Jordan and David Ginola signalled their decisions to run at the elections next year.

Dyke said that the English FA had no clear idea yet on who should be the new president

"That's not for us," he said. "We will play a part in the process. What we must make sure is the new president is of impeccable character who can run the organisation and sort out an organisation where corruption has been rife for years.

"Last year The Sunday Times exposed what had happened over the last two World Cups (the bidding process that led to the award of the two tournaments) and Blatter accused them of being racist. He has gone and let's celebrate."

A surprise twist in a never-ending tale

December 2010: Russia is awarded the 2018 World Cup and Qatar gets the 2022 hosting rights, days after the BBC broadcast a Panorama expose of Fifa.

February 2011: Fifa’s ethics committee uphold three-year and one-year bans imposed respectively upon executive committee members Amos Adamu and Reynald Temarii for breaches of Fifa’s code of ethics following a Sunday Times investigation into wrongdoing during the World Cup 2018 and 2022 bidding campaigns.

May 2011: Fifa suspend presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam and Vice-President Jack Warner pending an investigation into claims they offered financial incentives to members of the Caribbean Football Union. The Qatar 2022 team deny any wrongdoing.

June 2011: Bin Hammam is found guilty of bribery and banned from all international and national football activity for life. Warner escapes investigation after resigning from his position.

July 2012: Fifa commission a report into allegations of corruption in world football which is led by former US attorney Michael Garcia.

June 2014: The Sunday Times reports it has received ‘’hundreds of millions’’ of documents which it claims reveal that disgraced former Fifa executive committee member Bin Hammam had made payments to football officials in return for votes for Qatar.

September 2014: Garcia completes his 430-page report into corruption allegations and sends it to Fifa.

November 2014: Hans-Joachim Eckert, chairman of the adjudicatory chamber of Fifa’s independent ethics committee, publishes a 42-page summary of Garcia’s investigation, effectively confirming Russia and Qatar as World Cup hosts after finding breaches by them were ‘’of very limited scope’’. Garcia calls the summary “incomplete and erroneous” and launches an appeal against it.

December 2014: Garcia loses his appeal and resigns as Fifa’s independent ethics investigator, criticising Fifa’s ‘’lack of leadership’’ and saying he cannot change the culture of the world governing body.

May 2015: Seven Fifa officials are arrested at a hotel in Zurich. They are later charged by US authorities along with two other Fifa officials and five corporate executives over allegations of racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering spanning 24 years.

The Swiss authorities raid Fifa headquarters, gathering data for their separate investigation into allegations of criminal mismanagement and money laundering in connection with the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids.

Blatter is re-elected as Fifa President for a fifth term after Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein withdraws during a second round of voting.

June 2, 2015: A letter reveals the South African FA asked Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke to authorise a $10million payment to Warner to support football in the Caribbean.

Blatter announces he is to resign as Fifa President.

Belfast Telegraph

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph