Newly-reelected FIFA President Sepp Blatter has resigned from his position after serving 17 years as the organization's head. Blatter was reelected to a fifth term last Friday after the opposing candidate, Jordan's Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, dropped out of the race. Blatter's resignation follows the arrest of major FIFA officials on corruption charges. The corruption probe had existed in some form since 1991, and the arrests were made relating to kickbacks given during the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups. The tournaments were were awarded to Russia and Qatar, respectively. Qatar in particular has come under fire for being a particularly questionable choice to host the tournament, as temperatures are unbearably hot and thousands of imported laborers have been literally worked to death building the stadia for the event.
While Blatter himself was not arrested, it was confirmed by ABC News that he was being investigated by the FBI and other US prosecutors.
From The Guardian:
Blatter, who has been president since 1998 and won a fifth term at last week’s elections, called an extraordinary congress “as soon as possible”, saying “a new president will be elected to follow me”.
“I will organise extraordinary congress for a replacement for me as president,” said the 79-year-old Swiss. I will not stand. I am now free from the constraints of an election. I will be in a position to focus on profound reforms. For many years we have called for reforms. But these are not sufficient.
“I have thoroughly considered and thought about my presidency and the last 40 years in my life. These years were closely related to Fifa and the wonderful sport of football. I appreciate and love FIFA more than anything else.
“I only want to do the best for Fifa and my institution. I decided to stand again as the best option for football. The elections are closed but the challenges we face haven’t come to an end.”
Soccer fans on Twitter reacted like Christmas had come early, with some egging on other embattled sports commissioners to resign as well:
Current soundtrack at FIFA headquarters: https://t.co/CdhCOdY5x0— Hayes Brown (@HayesBrown) June 2, 2015
cc: roger goodell https://t.co/2foj0SPyLF— andy levy (@andylevy) June 2, 2015
They usually hate it, but I suspect a bunch of the soccer world is chanting "USA! USA!" right now.— Tim Hanrahan (@TimJHanrahan) June 2, 2015
Sepp Blatter has finally done something to benefit global football: quit.— Oliver Cooper (@OliverCooper) June 2, 2015
.@nflcommish say "Me too." Don't ask why, just do it.— Feitelberg (@FeitsBarstool) June 2, 2015
Blatter will stay on until the next president is elected, which should be within the next six to nine months.
While FIFA's corruption was well-known to soccer fans, HBO's John Oliver's epic, 13-minute rant about the World Cup and FIFA's shenanigans on his show "Last Week Tonight" brought attention to the issue to casual American viewers. On Sunday, Oliver updated most of his complaints and feelings about the organization in light of the new corruption indictments. Oliver promised to consume McDonald's and Bud Light Lime if Blatter were eventually forced to resign.