Sepp Blatter has announced his intention to resign as FIFA president, just days after being re-elected for a fifth term.

Blatter, 79, announced the decision at a news conference in Zurich, six days after the FBI raided a hotel there and arrested several FIFA officials.

FIFA was rocked by those arrests and the announcement of a US investigation into alleged widespread financial wrongdoing over many years. Swiss authorities have also mounted their own criminal probe into the award of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar.

Blatter is to call an extraordinary congress to hold an election to replace him.

"My mandate does not appear to be supported by everybody," Blatter said this evening.

"I will organise an extraordinary congress for a replacement for me as president. I will not stand.

"I am now free from the constraints of an election. I will be in a position to focus on profound reforms. For many years we have called for reforms. But these are not sufficient.

"We need a limitation on mandates and terms of office. I have fought for these changes but my efforts have been counteracted."

Blatter said the process for the election of a new president would begin "at the earliest opportunity".

"This will need to be done in line with FIFA’s statutes and we must allow enough time for the best candidates to present themselves and to campaign.

"Since I shall not be a candidate, and am therefore now free from the constraints that elections inevitably impose, I shall be able to focus on driving far-reaching, fundamental reforms that transcend our previous efforts."


Blatter will remain at the helm of FIFA until his successor is chosen and it could be more than six months before an extraordinary congress is arranged to do so.

While Blatter is not mentioned in either the US or Swiss investigations, there have been widespread calls for him to quit.

Some major sponsors also expressed misgivings about the impact of the scandal.

However, the investigation came closer to Blatter this morning, when FIFA was forced to deny that Blatter's right-hand man, secretary-general Jerome Valcke, was implicated in a $10 million payment that lies at the heart of the US case.

FIFA said Valcke, who has been secretary-general since 2007 and is seen as one of the most powerful men in world sport, had no role in the payments, which were authorised by the chairman of FIFA's finance committee.
The chairman of the committee at the time of the payments was Argentina's Julio Grondona, who died last year.

According to FIFA, a four-month notice is required for any presidential elections to be held.

Domencio Scala, FIFA's independent chairman of the audit and compliance committee said FIFA must also consider "appropriate time" to vet candidates and allow them to present their ideas.

"The expectation is that this could take place any time from December of this year to March of next year."