×

Sepp Blatter to Resign as President of World Soccer Organization FIFA

Soccer chief says FIFA 'needs a profound overhaul' as FBI and Swiss investigations into corruption continue

Sepp Blatter is to resign as president of world soccer organization FIFA, which is the focus of a FBI investigation.

Blatter will continue to serve as chief until the holding of an extraordinary congress, which he has urged the body’s executive committee to organize “at the earliest opportunity.” In the meantime, Blatter said he would be able to “focus on driving far-reaching, fundamental reforms that transcend our previous efforts.”

Seven FIFA officials were arrested at the organization’s annual congress in Switzerland last week at the request the U.S. government as federal authorities pursued those they allege to be guilty of corruption. But despite those arrests, and others that were made elsewhere, Blatter was re-elected as FIFA boss two days later. On Tuesday, he decided to quit.

“FIFA needs a profound overhaul,” Blatter said in a statement. “While I have a mandate from the membership of FIFA, I do not feel that I have 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.”

In all 14 people were indicted as part of the FBI action. Charges included racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering.

Meanwhile, Swiss authorities launched their own investigation into FIFA, which focused on how the 2018 and 2022 World Cups were awarded to Russian and Qatar, respectively. The proceedings are targeted at criminal mismanagement and money laundering, according to the Swiss attorney general.

In his statement on Tuesday, Blatter set out how he would like to reform FIFA. First, he proposed a reduction in the size of the executive committee, and, second, said that its members should be elected by the FIFA congress. At present the committee includes representatives of regional confederations “over whom we have no control, but for whose actions FIFA is held responsible,” he said. The focus of the FBI action has been on two of these regional confederations: Concacaf, which governs soccer across North America, Central America and the Caribbean, and Conmebol, which is the South American confederation. Third, he called for “integrity checks” on executive committee members to be carried out by FIFA and not by the confederations. Fourth, Blatter argued for limits on the terms for the FIFA president and the members of the executive committee.

Blatter has asked Domenico Scala, who is chairman of FIFA’s audit and compliance committee, to oversee the implementation of the reforms, and to supervise the election of the new president.

At the heart of the allegations of corruption at FIFA are the sale of media and marketing rights, which generate the lion’s share of its revenues. For example, 70% of FIFA’s $5.7 billion in total revenues between 2011 and 2014 was attributable to the sale of media and marketing rights to the 2014 World Cup. The TV rights alone for the 2014 World Cup tournament, which aired in 214 countries, were worth $2.4 billion. The FBI investigation now ongoing may now uncover some uncomfortable truths, not just for FIFA but for some of those involved in the sale of those media and marketing rights.

More Biz

  • London's CODA Agency Formally Becomes a

    Paradigm Agency Formally Absorbs London's CODA Into the Fold

    After five years of working together, London’s CODA Agency has formally become a part of Paradigm and will continue under its U.S. partner’s banner. The London office of what is now a fully integrated Paradigm will continue to be led by Alex Hardee, Tom Schroeder, James Whitting and Dave Hallybone. In a statement otherwise laden [...]

  • WGA Agents Dispute Placeholder

    Agencies Seek to Hold Key Court Hearing Before WGA Elections

    The four major agencies asked a court on Monday to expedite a key hearing in the Writers Guild of America lawsuit, as the agencies seek to have portions of the case thrown out before the WGA’s internal elections in September. The WGA and the unions are still waging a legal and public relations battle over [...]

  • Sonja Plack Cocaine Possession

    'The Chi' Actress Sonja Sohn Arrested on Cocaine Possession Charge

    Sonja Sohn, the actress who appears on “The Chi,” was arrested over the weekend in North Carolina on a charge of cocaine possession. Sohn, best known for portraying Det. Kima Greggs on “The Wire,” was booked and released from the Dare County Detention Center in Manteo, N.C., according to a statement from the Dare County [...]

  • Roc Nation Label Names Shari Bryant

    Roc Nation Label Names Shari Bryant and Omar Grant Co-Presidents

    Roc Nation has named Shari Bryant and Omar Grant co-presidents of the Roc Nation Label, the company announced today. The two will lead the Roc Nation team to develop strategies for signed artists while continuing to build the talent roster, according to the announcement. “There is no better way to celebrate my 20th anniversary in the [...]

  • Bert Salke and Jennifer Salke

    Feds Looked Into Amazon Studios Chief Jennifer Salke in College Admissions Scandal

    Federal investigators looked into Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke and her husband, Fox 21 Television Studios president Bert Salke, as they conducted a sprawling probe of cheating in elite college admissions, a source close to the case told Variety. It does not appear, however, that prosecutors will charge the Salkes in the case. The Salkes [...]

  • Variety Cord Cutting Placeholder Cable

    Big Blackout Looms as CBS, AT&T Go Down to Wire on Renewal Talks

    A blackout affecting CBS stations in major markets throughout the country looms as CBS and AT&T executives go down to the wire on negotiations for a retransmission consent deal covering 28 O&O stations. The sides have sparred publicly during the past few days as 11 p.m. PT Friday expiration of the previous contract approached. AT&T [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    ICM Responds to WGA Packaging Lawsuit: Claims are 'Baseless' and 'Absurd'

    ICM Partners has asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuit filed against four major talent agencies by the Writers Guild of America as part of the larger war between agencies and the guild over packaging fees on TV series and movies. The guild sued ICM, CAA, WME and UTA in California state court in April, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content