ZURICH --

President Sepp Blatter will not resign ahead of February's emergency presidential election despite calls Friday from major sponsors Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Visa to go now.

A statement from Blatter's lawyer says, ''While Coca Cola is a valued sponsor of FIFA, Mr. Blatter respectfully disagrees with its position and believes firmly that his leaving office now would not be in the best interest of FIFA nor would it advance the process of reform and therefore, he will not resign.''

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Coca-Cola became the first FIFA sponsor to call on Blatter to immediately stand down as president of world soccer's governing body. That was followed by a similar call from fast food giant McDonald's and financial services giant Visa.

The intervention from the major sponsors come a week after the 79-year-old Swiss was placed under criminal investigation by Swiss authorities for alleged financial wrongdoing at FIFA, which he has led since 1998.

''For the benefit of the game, The Coca-Cola Company is calling for FIFA President Joseph Blatter to step down immediately so that a credible and sustainable reform process can begin in earnest,'' Coca-Cola said in a statement. ''Every day that passes, the image and reputation of FIFA continues to tarnish. FIFA needs comprehensive and urgent reform, and that can only be accomplished through a truly independent approach.''

In an official statement, McDonald's said: "The events of recent weeks have continued to diminish the reputation of FIFA and public confidence in its leadership. We believe it would be in the best interest of the game for FIFA President Sepp Blatter to step down immediately so that the reform process can proceed with the credibility that is needed."

Blatter's own position has been weakened as lawyers oversee key decisions at scandal-battered FIFA and he waits to hear whether he will be suspended by the ethics committee.

Blatter did address a leadership issue earlier Friday in FIFA's in-house magazine - but not his own. Blatter complained that quotas must be implemented to stop men dominating positions of power in football.

''Football continues to be dominated by men,'' Blatter wrote in FIFA Weekly. ''It is our duty to change this. Women must feel that they have an equal chance of succeeding in football as their male counterparts.

''FIFA, the confederations and our member associations have to break the cycle that makes it so much easier for men to ascend to positions of responsibility. This is not just a moral duty.''

Blatter said there is ''compelling evidence that gender-balanced organizations make better decisions and produce better results.''

There are currently no female contenders in the race to succeed Blatter in the Feb. 26 election.