Fifa goes into rehab: Sepp Blatter’s resignation is just the first step


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The Independent Online

It would be wise not to get too carried away by the resignation of Sepp Blatter because what happens next is what really counts. We should remain deeply suspicious of Fifa and all its doings. Although Mr Blatter admitted that the organisation he has presided over for 17 years needs “profound restructuring”, many of the organisation’s delegates, accustomed to the perks and privileges of their position, may not agree if they personally lose out.

So the pressure that has been applied by all those from the FA to the FBI needs to be kept up if football’s most powerful body is to learn the meaning of good governance. Only then can the game move forward in a way that benefits the many millions who play and follow it around the world.

One of the great sadnesses of this sordid saga has been how such a simple game can have been so traduced. For that, the Swiss are clearly culpable. Even though there have been times when Mr Blatter has cut an almost comic figure, we should never forget the dark secrets that he has been hiding. Only now, perhaps, will the full truth begin to emerge as more of football’s rich and powerful figures are called to account.

So today we should pay a vote of thanks to those, like the British journalist Andrew Jennings, and the Sunday Times’s Insight Team, who have refused to be cowed by the barrage of bluster and obfuscation that Mr Blatter employed. He has finally been consigned to history just as that other sporting tyrant, Juan Antonio Samaranch, was before him.

For years the Spaniard ran the International Olympic Committee as his personal fiefdom before the Salt Lake City bribery scandal forced a clean-up. Therein lies the hope for Fifa, because the IOC is unrecognisable from 15 years ago. Fifa must travel the same painful road to reform.