Blatter announces resignation as FIFA president

Zurich, Switzerland ( - Sepp Blatter announced on Tuesday he will resign as president of FIFA, world soccer's governing body, amidst a corruption scandal.

Blatter, 79, was elected to a fifth term as president last Friday after challenger Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan conceded the race.

At the helm of the organization since 1998, things were turned upside down for Blatter and FIFA last Wednesday when nine high-ranking FIFA officials were arrested by United States and Swiss authorities on charges of corruption.

Blatter was not named in the indictment, but a report from ABC News on Tuesday said he is being investigated by the FBI in connection with the probe that led to last week's arrests.

"I have thoroughly considered my presidency and thought about my presidency. The last 40 years of my life, these years were closely related to FIFA and this wonderful sport of football," Blatter said in his address. "I appreciate and love FIFA more than anything else and I only want to do the best for football and FIFA. I had decided to stand again to be elected because I was convinced it would be the best option for football.

"The election has closed but the challenges that FIFA is facing have not come to an end. FIFA needs profound restructuring. Although the members of FIFA have given me the mandate and re-elected my presidency. This mandate doesn't seem to be supported by everyone in the world of football.

"This is why I will call an extraordinary congress and put at disposal my function. It is going to be held as soon as possible and a new president will be elected to follow me. I will continue to exercise my function as president of FIFA until the new elections will be held.

"I am very much linked to FIFA and its interests. Those interests are dear to me and this is why I am taking this decision. I would like to thank those who have always supported me in a constructive and loyal manner as president of FIFA and who have done so much for the game that we all love. What matters to me more than anything is that when all of this is over, football is the winner."

The arrests were in regards to activities carried out in relation with soccer federations in South America (CONMEBOL) and North America, Central America and the Caribbean (CONCACAF), as well as for the bidding procedures for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup.

The organization has been accused of bribery for decades, particularly as it relates to the bidding processes for international tournaments and media rights, including its biggest event -- the World Cup.

FIFA offered the following statement on the Swiss official's abrupt resignation.

"The investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee takes note of the FIFA president's announcement that he will be stepping down. The chamber will continue its mandate along with the adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee of consistently ensuring compliance with FIFA's Code of Ethics and will make this its highest priority, regardless of who is president. The body's independence from the president, regardless of who is exercising this function, is a key part of good corporate governance."

Several of FIFA's largest corporate sponsors, including Adidas and Coca-Cola, have also issued statements.

"The Adidas Group is fully committed to creating a culture that promotes the highest standards of ethics and compliance, and we expect the same from our partners. Following today's news, we can therefore only encourage FIFA to continue to establish and follow transparent compliance standards in everything they do."

The Atlanta-based soft drink giant offered the following:

"We respect Mr. Blatter's decision. The announcement today is a positive step for the good of sport, football and its fans. Our expectation remains that FIFA will continue to act with urgency to take concrete actions to fully address all of the issues that have been raised and win back the trust of all who love the sport of football. We believe this decision will help FIFA transform itself rapidly into a much-needed 21st century structure and institution."