Stoppage Time: Blatter fallout to bring welcome change

Philadelphia, PA ( - FIFA president Sepp Blatter sent shockwaves through the world football community on Tuesday by announcing his resignation as the head of the organization via an emergency press conference.

Blatter, 79, has been in power since 1998, and was elected to a fifth term last Friday after the lone challenger, Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein of Jordan, conceded the race after one round of voting for the position.

At the time of his election, Blatter congratulated his opponent and appeared thankful -- almost jovial -- in his acceptance of another term despite the corruption scandal that has engulfed the organization.

"I would like to give compliments and express my gratitude to his Royal Highness Prince Ali," Blatter told the assembled representatives on Friday. "I thank you that you have accepted me for the next four years. We will work on things we have to do for FIFA in the future. Let's go FIFA!"

Nine FIFA officials were arrested in Switzerland last Wednesday, led by the U.S. Department of Justice, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch and Swiss authorities.

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 Cups.

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

Perhaps Blatter saw the writing on the wall and quickly decided to head for the exit.

"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," Blatter said. "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.

"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."

The FIFA delegation of 209 nations will have to elect a new leader, which can take place in December at the earliest, while the next FIFA Congress is scheduled to convene in May 2016.

So with Blatter out, what does that mean for FIFA? In short, massive changes.

The organization has been accused of being corrupt for decades, with officials allegedly taking bribes of huge sums of money in exchange for World Cup votes and other favors. The U.S. indictment alleges over $150 million in dirty money changed hands.

FIFA makes nearly all of its revenue from the World Cup. According to Sky Sports, last year's tournament in Brazil cost the South American nation an estimated $4 billion, while the organization took more than $2 billion in profit.

Questions remain as to how Russia won the 2018 World Cup as well as how the tiny nation of Qatar was selected as the 2022 World Cup host.

Since the announcement of the '22 World Cup site, Qatar has managed to weather several scandals, including an unprecedented move of the tournament from summer to winter and controversy involving the treatment of migrant workers. The odds seem in favor of Qatar to keep hold of soccer's most prestigious tournament.

While the processes for World Cup bidding will need to be overhauled, Blatter outlined some reforms during his address.

"The size of the executive committee must be reduced and its members should be elected through the FIFA congress," he said. "The integrity checks for all executive committee members must be organized centrally through FIFA and not through the confederations. We need term limits not only for the president but for all members of the executive committee."

Prince Ali is likely to be in the running to take over for Blatter, while UEFA president Michel Platini also could jump into the race.

While Prince Ali remained noncommittal on his intention to run again, he expressed his approval of Blatter's decision.

"I think that it is the right move from Sepp Blatter and I think we have to look to the future," he told CNN.

Platini has been an outspoken critic of Blatter in the past and he was one of the first to react to the news.

"It was a difficult decision, a brave decision, and the right decision," he said.

Indeed, in order for FIFA to move forward, Blatter needed to be out. The alleged transgressions run deep. It could take years for the organization to fully rid itself of the stench of corruption, but Tuesday's development is a step in the right direction.

Now, it's a matter of waiting for the dust to settle.