Sepp Blatter, the man who has proven time and time again to be too powerful for all the scandals that have surrounded him for the last 17 years, has shocked the football world and resigned as FIFA president.
BREAKING: Sepp Blatter to resign from FIFA
— Sam Borden (@SamBorden) June 2, 2015
He explained his decision, which comes just days after being elected for a fifth term:
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 – the fans, the players, the clubs, the people who live, breathe and love football as much as we all do at FIFA.
Therefore, I have decided to lay down my mandate at an extraordinary elective Congress. I will continue to exercise my functions as FIFA President until that election
It’s a move that many football fans around the world have been hoping for, and it’s one that will surely shake up the sport in a colossal way moving forward. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know.
1. He Has Been President Since 1998
Blatter began working for FIFA in 1975, and after moving through the organization, he was elected as president in 1998. He has won four elections since, running unopposed in 2007. His tenure is one of the longest in the history of FIFA:
Sepp Blatter resigns as FIFA president Blatter: 3rd-longest tenure in post (Jules Rimet 33 years, Joao Havelange 24 years, Blatter 17 years)
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 2, 2015
“FIFA has been my life,” Blatter said during the announcement of his resignation, via SkySports.com. “What counts most for me is FIFA and football around the world.”
2. The Investigation Into FIFA’s Corruption Was Zeroing in on Him
The recent investigation, led by the United States, indicted nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives. According to The New York Times‘ William K. Rashbaum and Matt Apuzzo, federal authorities were getting closer to Blatter on the money trail.
Per the report, which came out a day before Blatter’s resignation, authorities believe that Jerome Valcke, Blatter’s top lieutenant at FIFA, transferred $10 million to Jack Warner, the former CONCACAF president who was indicted for allegedly taking a bribe in exchange for helping South Africa secure the 2010 World Cup.
3. He Beat out Prince Ali bin Hussein for Re-Election Just Days Before His Resignation
On May 29, an election for FIFA president was held. Blatter ran against Prince Ali bin Hussein of Jordan, FIFA’s Vice President representing Asia. On the first vote, Blatter received 133 votes to Prince Ali’s 73. Because two-thirds of the vote was needed to elect a president, it was enough to go to a second round of voting. However, Prince Ali bowed out, as Blatter only would have only needed a majority to win in the second round.
Blatter closed his re-election with the following remarks:
It is my congress, I have the right to make the closing remarks. This is a very important congress. You see I am in a good mood. I was a little bit nervous today, but now I am the president of everybody, I am the president of the whole Fifa.
4. An Election for a New President Will be Held at an Extraordinary Congress
The next FIFA congress, which is when an election would typically take place, isn’t until May of 2016. As such, Blatter explained that an “Extraordinary Congress” will be scheduled for an earlier time.
Still, that won’t happen for another six months, at the earliest:
A new congress will be held to elect Sepp Blatter's successor between December and March 2016.
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 2, 2015
Until that happens, Blatter will remain in his current position.
5. UEFA President Michel Platini is Seen as the Favorite to Replace Blatter
Platini has been one of Blatter’s biggest critics. He told Blatter to resign after news of the most recent corruption charges, and he was reportedly set to lead Europe in a refusal to serve on FIFA’s executive committee.
“It was a difficult decision, a brave decision, and the right decision,” Platini said about Blatter’s resignation.
Oddsmakers have already began taking bets for Blatter’s replacement, and Platini is at the top of the list:
UEFA President Michel Platini has the best odds to become next FIFA President. pic.twitter.com/YkR7bupaMy
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 2, 2015
Prince Ali, despite going through the election process recently, is expected to run once again.