Sunday 26 February 2017

John Delaney 'delighted' with Sepp Blatter resignation, but urges a cultural change within FIFA

Sam Griffin and Declan Whooley

FAI chief executive John Delaney says he is “delighted” Sepp Blatter is to step down as FIFA President but warned there must now “be a change in culture” in world football.

Speaking on RTE after the 79-year-old Swiss announced he would resign, Mr Delaney said it was “a good day for world football” and said he wasn't surprised by the decision despite Blatter winning re-election last week.

"I'm not surprised it has happened," he said. "There was momentum against him, sponsors, the FBI, the British Government, from within football where nearly 40pc had the bravery to vote against him.

"Even though it was a secret ballot, a lot of people were of the view that it would be difficult to remove him.

Delaney believes that the deep-rooted culture of corruption needs to be tackled immediately for the organisation to regain any kind of credibility.

"It's a good day for world football, but it's now important that the debate moves on and it's important that we use this opportunity to change the culture of FIFA.

"Because we can see the culture of FIFA was one of corruption, one of bribery, nothing to do with the beautiful game. It was more to do with what I described last week as something more out of a mafia movie than football."

Read more: Sepp Blatter on FIFA resignation: My presidency does not seem to be supported by everyone in football

Blatter has called for an extraordinary congress "as soon as possible", saying "a new president will be elected to follow me" and Delaney believes his successor can look to another sporting organisation who faced similar challenges for inspiration.

"It's going to be interesting to see who the next president is going to be. You go back to the IOC [International Olympic Committee]. They faced these issues many years ago and they changed that culture very quickly with a strong president.

"I'm delighted today that Blatter has stepped down. I'm just hopeful that we can carry that change through now.

"I think we have this wonderful opportunity to get world football back onto the front pages for the right reasons."

Read more: 'FIFA needs a profound overhaul' - Sepp Blatter's statement in full

Blatter's announcement comes after FIFA has admitted it paid $10m destined for the South Africa World Cup to an account controlled by the disgraced former vice-president Jack Warner.

The payment followed a letter from the South African FA to FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke - the money is being investigated as a World Cup votes bribe by the FBI.

Read more: 'Victory for football' - Twitter is predictably unforgiving for Sepp Blatter following FIFA resignation

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