Sepp Blatter 'considering U-turn' to stay on as Fifa president after receiving support from Africa and Asia despite resigning

Blatter announced earlier this month that he will step down as Fifa president but Swiss newspaper Schweiz am Sonntag reports he could stay on

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The Independent Online

Sepp Blatter could perform and incredible U-turn on his decision to stand down as Fifa president after receiving supportive messages from officials in Africa and Asia, it has been revealed.

The 79-year-old Swiss announced his decision to step down on 2 June after admitting he knew he did not have the full backing of the football world, and more importantly of the 209 Fifa Member Associates who voted for either Blatter or his election rival Prince Ali bin al-Hussein last month.

However, despite confirming that an “extraordinary Congress” will be called in order to elect a new president, Swiss newspaper Schweiz am Sonntag has reported that Blatter is considering a rethink on his decision to step down and could yet remain in office.

 

His re-election came two days after seven Fifa members were arrested in Zurich on corruption charges, with the total number of current and former Fifa officials indicted as part of an FBI investigation into alleged widespread corruption up to 18.

Fifa confirmed this week that the election to vote in Blatter’s replacement will take place between December and February, and that the exact date will be confirmed on 20 July.

But the most recent development started earlier this week when Fifa’s director of communications and public affairs Walter de Gregorio was forced out of Fifa after clashing with Blatter over his decision to consider a U-turn, the report also claims.

De Gregorio argued that Fifa needed a completely new start and advised Blatter to stay true to his word and resign, but a footage of De Gregorio making a Fifa related “joke” that saw him mention Blatter, himself and Fifa general secretary in a car driven by a policeman paved the way for his dismissal.

In a statement issued this morning, Chairman of the independent Audit and Compliance Committee of Fifa Domenico Scala appeared to support Blatter’s resignation and admitted that “change” must occur at the world governing body.

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Blatter walks out of the Fifa press room after resigning

He said: "For me, the reforms are the central topic. That is why I think it is clearly indispensable to follow through with the initiated process of president's change as it has been announced. "

But Damian Collins MP, who has rivalled Blatter for some time and is a founder member of New Fifa Now, warned that a U-turn needs to be looked out for given  that Blatter stated he would not run again in the 20154 election – only to change his mind and win a fifth term in office.

Collins said: "We need to be on high alert for dodgy dealing at Fifa.

"Blatter said in 2011 that he wouldn't stand again for president and then changed his mind. He will do anything now to keep influence over Fifa, to frustrate real reform and try to protect his rotten legacy.

"Scala is right to speak out against this. Fifa needs to understand that unless Blatter goes and there is real reform that it could be the end of the organisation. The threat of sponsors withdrawing support and of a broader boycott of Fifa will remain without new leadership and real reform."

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