Belfast Telegraph

IFA's Jim Shaw welcomes great chance to usher in change

By Stuart McKinley

Irish FA President Jim Shaw has revealed his shock after Sepp Blatter quit his role at the top of world football.

Shaw, who was in attendance when Blatter was re-elected as Fifa President at the annual Congress last week, believes that his decision to go is now an opportunity to bring about positive change at the head of the game's governing body.

Blatter's resignation follows allegations of corruption within Fifa, which saw six officials arrested by Swiss police just 48 hours before the Congress meeting in Zurich.

"Sepp Blatter's decision to step down is a major surprise, particularly as it is only a matter of days since he was re-elected," said Shaw.

"There was no inkling at the time that he would go within such a short space of time. If anything, it was the opposite. He was very much standing up and saying that we were now moving forward.

"I certainly didn't see it coming."

Former France international David Ginola, who had planned to challenge Blatter before withdrawing from the vote, has confirmed that he will stand for the Fifa Presidency when a Special Congress is held in the near future.

Ex-Real Madrid and Portugal star Luis Figo is also considering rejoining the race, with current Uefa chief Michel Platini expected to be a leading contender.

"This can create change. People wanted to see change and Sepp Blatter stepping down will bring that," added Shaw.

"It is now important that the right person comes into the post because there is a lot of work to be undertaken."

Football Association of Ireland chief executive John Delaney welcomed Blatter's exit.

"This is good news for world football and not before time," he said.

"These are changes that we had called for and had hoped would come. We believe there is now an opportunity for real change and reform at Fifa.

"It is important that this opportunity to change the culture within Fifa at the highest levels is not passed up."

Scottish FA chief executive Stewart Regan said: "We, like many other national associations, have maintained that the governance of world football's governing body requires to be reformed."

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