The chairman of England’s Football Association called on FIFA President Sepp Blatter to leave the position on Thursday after a major corruption scandal engulfed the sport.
“Sepp Blatter has to go as FIFA president,” Greg Dyke, chairman of the FA, football’s governing body in England, told the Press Association.
“There is no way of rebuilding trust in FIFA while Sepp Blatter is still there… He either has to go through a resignation, or he has to be out-voted or we have to find a third way.”
The world football governing body has been plunged into crisis as it prepares to vote for a new president with accusations of “rampant, systemic and deep-rooted” corruption by US authorities.
Seven officials were arrested in a dawn raid on a luxury Zurich hotel and accused of taking more than $150 million in bribes, with 14 officials and marketing executives accused of racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies.
Blatter has been FIFA president since 1998, and has weathered a series of scandals including over allegations of corruption in the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar, while remaining popular among FIFA member associations worldwide.
Dyke, who is in Zurich with hundreds of other football officials for the FIFA conference, called on European football body UEFA “to try and force him out”.
UEFA has called for the postponement of Friday’s FIFA presidential election, at which Blatter has just one rival, Prince Ali bin al Hussein of Jordan.
Blatter, 79, called the events a “difficult time for football” and welcomed the investigation.
“Let me be clear: such misconduct has no place in football and we will ensure that those who engage in it are put out of the game,” Blatter said.
Coverage of the scandal in Britain has focused on Blatter, and Thursday’s front pages were covered with pictures of the man who has long loomed large over the world’s most popular sport.
The Daily Mail asked “How can Blatter survive?”, the Guardian’s front page read “The stench of corruption”, while several others said England’s failed bid for the 2018 World Cup should be reconsidered.
In an editorial, The Times accused Blatter of creating a “personal fiefdom” in FIFA that had brought football “into disrepute”.
“The game is over, Mr Blatter,” it read. “It is time you retreated to the dugout.” – Agence France-Presse