Sepp Blatter, the four-term FIFA chief who weathered an unprecedented period of scandal and controversy in international soccer, announced on Tuesday that he would resign. His statement capped a furious few days of drama during which several FIFA officials and executives were indicted on mass corruption charges, conspiracy theories churned over the U.S. Justice Department’s involvement, and Blatter was nevertheless reelected FIFA chief by a wide margin.
“For the next four years I will be in command of this boat called FIFA, and we will bring it back,” he crowed triumphantly on Friday. “We will bring it back offshore, we will bring it back to the beach, where finally football will be played.”
But by Tuesday afternoon at a hastily organized press conference, Blatter’s tone had changed."This mandate does not seem to be supported by everybody in the world of football,” he said. “FIFA needs a profound restructuring."
It also needs a credibility boost. Last week, Justice Department officials accused FIFA officials of taking nearly $150 million in bribes over the course of the past 24 years. Swiss investigators also announced that they would open investigations into the bidding processes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, set to take place in Russia and Qatar, respectively.