Belfast Telegraph

Fifa official tells Blatter to 'stop flirting with power'

Sepp Blatter has been urged to stop "flirting with power" by the man who will oversee the next Fifa presidential election.

Blatter announced on June 2 he would step down from the presidency of the sport's world governing body at an extraordinary congress to be held between December and March. It followed the crisis that engulfed Fifa, with 18 people indicted in the United States on football-related corruption charges.

But the 79-year-old appeared to muddy the waters last week when, in what was seen by some as a mischief-making attempt to unsettle his critics, he said: "I have not resigned, I put my mandate in the hands of an extraordinary congress."

That led to speculation that Blatter could stand for the presidency once again, although a Fifa source insisted that was not the case. Now Domenico Scala, the independent chairman of Fifa's audit and compliance committee, has urged Blatter to stick by his decision to quit in the name of reform.

"The times of flirting with the power are definitely gone," he said in a statement. "I call on all concerned - including Mr Blatter - to endorse in the interest of the reforms unequivocally the announced changing of the guard at the top of Fifa."

Blatter is himself reportedly under investigation by the FBI and his attendance at the women's World Cup final in Canada next week appears to be in jeopardy due to the twin investigations by American and Swiss justice authorities.

A source close to Fifa said the crisis is having a bearing over whether Blatter travels to Canada.

Belfast Telegraph

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