FA Chairman Greg Dyke has said that Sepp Blatter’s resignation as President of FIFA is “fantastic” for football.
The 79-year old ended his 16 year tenure in charge of football’s governing body, amid huge claims of corruption and two criminal investigations by both US and Swiss authorities.
Following Blatter’s announcement, Dyke said:
“I think it’s great news for football.
“I think it was long overdue, but its good news for world football. It now means we can get someone into to run FIFA, we can get in there and find out where all the money has gone over all the years, and sort it out for the future, so its great news.”
Dyke and the FA had voted against Blatter in the presidential elections last Friday, just two days after seven FIFA officials were arrested on charges of money-laundering, bribery and racketeering. Two of those arrested were FIFA Vice-Presidents.
Blatter won his fifth term in the elections, after his only remaining rival, Jordanian Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, dropped out after the first round of voting.
However, Dyke spoke of his surprise at the announcement, with Blatter stating that FIFA needed “profound restructuring.”
“When I was interviewed leaving the [FIFA] congress on Friday night, I said ‘this isn’t the end of it’, but even I didn’t think it would be all over by the next Tuesday.
“Clearly there has been something that has come out of the events of last wee that has made Mr Blatter stand down, and one can only assume that that’s to do with the investigation, either by the Swiss Justice Authorities or by the Attorney General in America.
“But, forget that, if you’re in football forget that, he’s gone, we’re going to get someone else at long last we can sort out FIFA, we can go back to look at those two World Cups [Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022 – both decisions were heavily criticised], if I was in Qatar today, I wouldn’t be feeling very confident.”
Dyke, who became FA Chairman in 2013, has reiterated Blatter’s comments, stating that the whole organisation needed “restructuring.”
“The whole organisation needs restructuring. I felt quite sorry for a lot of the people who work at FIFA because they’ve done nothing wrong. What’s been happening has been happening at a much higher level than them.
“But the whole organisation needs restructuring, the whole organisation needs looking at financially, we want to know where the money’s gone. We don’t even know how much Blatter got paid. We don’t know what his bonus was, we certainly don’t know what his expenses were.
“In the future it’s got to be about transparency, but this is great news today.”
The 68-year old did however praise Blatter for some of his work during his reign as FIFA President, but did cast doubt over the Austrian’s motives:
“He has spent a lot of money in football in third world countries, and developing football, and that is to be praised and he has done it well.
“The trouble is, knowing Mr Blatter, we all rather doubt his motives.
“But there is no doubt that significant sums of money have been spent around the world to help develop football. He did take the World Cup to Africa for the first time, which was a good thing to do, so it’s not all bad. But the trouble is, it’s all been done in a cloud of corruption that has gone on for year after year after year, and today it ends.”
Blatter said in his statement earlier today that he would “urge the executive committee to organise an extraordinary congress for the election of my successor at the earliest opportunity.” The next normal FIFA congress isn’t due to take place until May next year.
Who will take over at FIFA is unclear, however, some of those who were involved in the leadership race for the presidential election have said that they would be willing to stand again. This includes Luis Figo and David Ginola.
But, regardless of who takes the now-vacant position, Dyke has said that they must make the organisation “transparent.”
“What is important is that the person who goes in is capable. Quite who it is at the moment I don’t know, I think there will be discussions all around the world.
“But, it’s got to be someone who systematically looks at that organisation, looks at its money, looks at where it’s been spent, and makes it transparent, because at the moment transparency is to be found nowhere in FIFA.”