IOC chief hails Blatter decision to “open way for new leadership”

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Madrid, June 3 (IANS) International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach on Wednesday conveyed his “high regard” for the decision made by outgoing FIFA president Sepp Blatter to resign and “open the way for new leadership”.

“We highly respect this decision of president Blatter to step down and to initiate the necessary reforms — and to make way for a new leadership of FIFA to drive these changes,” Bach said in an official statement.

Blatter, an IOC member since 1999, will also lose his membership with the Olympic institution after tendering his resignation, reports Efe.

During last week’s FIFA Congress in which the Swiss was re-elected for a fifth term as head of the world football governing body, Bach urged FIFA to implement the recommendations of the IOC Agenda 2020 to fight corruption.

“The IOC is prepared to implement the recommendations of the Olympic Agenda 2020, which has strengthened the fight against corruption,” the German IOC president told delegates at the opening of the FIFA Congress last Thursday.

“I invite FIFA to implement its recommendations. I am confident that following a way of transparency with determination, you, the guardians of football, will overcome these challenges and you will make your sport shine once again as you have done in the past,” he added.

Blatter announced at a press conference on Tuesday his decision to resign, and stated that an extraordinary congressional session would convene for the election of his successor “at the earliest opportunity”.

“While I have a mandate from the membership of FIFA, I do not feel that I have a mandate from the entire world of football… Therefore, I have decided to lay down my mandate at an extraordinary elective Congress… FIFA needs a profound overhaul,” Blatter remarked.

Blatter was re-elected FIFA president on May 29, two days after the arrest of seven senior FIFA officials in Switzerland at the request of the U.S. judiciary, which asked for their extradition over alleged corruption charges.

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