3 Jun 2015

Investigator questions Blatter's resignation

6:29 pm on 3 June 2015

An investigator tasked earlier this decade with cleaning up FIFA has questioned whether the head of football's world governing body will in fact leave.

Sepp Blatter reacts after his re-election as president of FIFA in Zurich on 30 May (NZST).

Sepp Blatter after his re-election as president, just a few days ago. Photo: AFP

Earlier today, FIFA president Sepp Blatter announced he would resign, only days after he was re-elected.

Mr Blatter said the organisation needed "profound restructuring" and, although he was given a new mandate to lead the organisation, it "does not seem to be supported by everyone in the world".

Prince Ali bin al-Hussein of Jordan and Michel Platini, the head of European football association UEFA, have emerged as early favourites to succeed him.

However, a replacement might not be chosen until next year.

US prosecutors have accused several FIFA officials of racketeering, fraud and money laundering involving tens of millions of dollars over 24 years.

A separate criminal investigation by Swiss authorities into how the 2018 and 2022 World Cups were allocated is also under way.

Mr Blatter has not been mentioned in either investigation. However, ABC News and the New York Times reported today that US law enforcement officials have indicated Mr Blatter was also under investigation as part of the probe that led to last week's indictments.

'He holds on to the reins of power'

Michael Hershman was on the Independent Governance Committee put together by FIFA in late 2011 after a series of scandals. The committee had its recommendations largely ignored.

Mr Hershman said Mr Blatter has said more than once before that he planned to leave - but didn't.

"Sepp Blatter is staying in power until a special congress is called - we don't know when that will be called," he said.

"He holds on to the reins of power, he still has control over the purse strings of FIFA. And you know we have to be concerned about whether he will actually leave."

Mr Hershman said FIFA had been ruled by fear and intimidation.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs