Beijing, June 3 (IANS) Sepp Blatter hit the headline again on Tuesday by unexpectedly announcing that he would step down as FIFA president just four days after he was elected for the fifth term.
Blatter’s resignation came in the wake of a corruption investigation that reportedly is closing on his right-hand man and FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke.
Amid the worst crisis that has struck the game’s world governing body, people were divisive on Blatter’s decision.
Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said Blatter’s decision to step down was “courageous” and would help prevent a split in FIFA, Xinhua news agency reported.
As an active player, Belgian international and Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany gave a balanced comment.
“Blatter wasn’t sole responsible, more have to follow. Transparency and voting reform, then we move on and bring back ethics,” he tweeted.
Some are surprised, and wondering what forced Blatter to make such a decision.
“Why now Sepp,” former England international Gary Neville asked.
Dutch coach Ruud Gullit wondered: “What kind of garbage is coming out for Blatter to step down as just elected president of FIFA?????”
In the election, Blatter was backed by Africa and Asia who received FIFA funding to develop the sport. They are the people who will miss Blatter.
Kalusha Bwalya, Football Association of Zambia president and former African Footballer of the Year, said he was shocked. “The man has done a lot for FIFA,” he said. “For Africa he was always there, he was always caring.”
For Blatter’s critics, the decision is welcomed.
Australian football association said in a statement that FIFA “needs fresh leadership and the resignation of the president is a first step.”
“The challenge is not just to change the top elected position, but the governance structure at all levels and the culture that underpins it,” it said.
UEFA president Michel Platini, seen as a possible Blatter successor and having asked Blatter to step down before the election, called the announcement “a difficult decision, a brave decision, the right decision.”
As for Blatter’s only competitor in the election, Prince of Jordan Ali Bin Al Hussein said he is “willing to help” in FIFA.