Wednesday 28 September 2016

Sepp Blatter's FIFA resignation: John Delaney will be watching for possible 'deal' as successor is chosen

Sam Griffin

Published 02/06/2015 | 17:50

FAI chief executive John Delaney said he will be watching to see if Blatter has 'done a deal' with someone to ensure his preferred candidate emerges as his successor.

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The FAI chief spoke after FIFA president Sepp Blatter's surprise resignation this evening.

Blatter announced he will step down from his position following a series of scandals that have rocked football’s world governing body.

“The other thing is has some deal been done by Blatter with somebody else to come in? Has he done a deal in the last couple of days and said ‘I’m getting out of town I want my own man in’ and that’s something I’ll be watching carefully, as will many others."

Asked about potential replacements, he said:

“He is Platini, he’s this great world footballer, he’s the President of UEFA he would get a lot of support within UEFA and possibly outside, but it’s up to Michel to put his name forward if he so wishes to do,” he said.

Sepp Blatter was elected Fifa president for the fifth time last week
Sepp Blatter was elected Fifa president for the fifth time last week

He said he was proud Ireland had opposed Blatter’s re-election.

“I’m glad we took the position we did and I’m glad we took it early,” he said adding he was glad Ireland “didn’t jump on bandwagon like some other nations did”. 

Delaney also said he is 'delighted' with today's developments but warned there must now 'be a change in culture' in world football.

Speaking on RTE this evening, he 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.

Sepp Blatter has offered his sympathy on the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster
Sepp Blatter has offered his sympathy on the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster

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

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."

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.

Read more: Sepp Blatter - 10 things you should know about outgoing Fifa president

His 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.

The 79-year-old Swiss has called an extraordinary congress "as soon as possible", saying "a new president will be elected to follow me".

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.

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

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.

The Swiss said he had he “appreciated FIFA more than anything else” but said the mandate he had been given following his re-election last week “did not seem to be supported by everybody in the world of football”.

He said he would now ask FIFA’s executive committee to organise an extraordinary congress as “rapidly as possible” and would be carried out in accordance with the organisation’s statutes.

Mr Blatter had come under increased pressure in recent days to step down following the launch of from two separate criminal investigations into corruption at the world football organisation.

Read more: The controversies that marked Sepp Blatter's FIFA presidential reign

Reacting to the news this evening, FA chairman Greg Dyke has told the BBC that Blatter's resignation is 'brilliant for world football'.

Blatter, 79, announced the decision at a news conference in Zurich, six days after the FBI raided a hotel in Zurich and arrested several FIFA officials.

"I have been reflecting deeply about my presidency and about the forty years in which my life has been inextricably bound to FIFA and the great sport of football," he said.

"I cherish FIFA more than anything and I want to do only what is best for FIFA and for football. I felt compelled to stand for re-election, as I believed that this was the best thing for the organisation. That election is over but FIFA's challenges are not. FIFA needs a profound overhaul.

Read more: Gary Lineker sarcastically praises FIFA as an "upstanding organisation" following Blatter resignation

"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.

"The next ordinary FIFA congress will take place on 13 May 2016 in Mexico City. This would create unnecessary delay and I will urge the executive committee to organise an extraordinary congress for the election of my successor at the earliest opportunity.

"This will need to be done in line with FIFA's statutes and we must allow enough time for the best candidates to present themselves and to campaign.

"Since I shall not be a candidate, and am therefore now free from the constraints that elections inevitably impose, I shall be able to focus on driving far-reaching, fundamental reforms that transcend our previous efforts. For years, we have worked hard to put in place administrative reforms, but it is plain to me that while these must continue, they are not enough.

"The executive committee includes representatives of confederations over whom we have no control, but for whose actions FIFA is held responsible. We need deep-rooted structural change.

"The size of the executive committee must be reduced and its members should be elected through the FIFA congress. The integrity checks for all executive committee members must be organised centrally through FIFA and not through the confederations. We need term limits not only for the president but for all members of the executive committee.

"I have fought for these changes before and, as everyone knows, my efforts have been blocked. This time, I will succeed.

"I cannot do this alone. I have asked Domenico Scala to oversee the introduction and implementation of these and other measures. Mr Scala is the independent chairman of our audit and compliance committee elected by the FIFA congress.

"He is also the chairman of the ad hoc electoral committee and, as such, he will oversee the election of my successor. Mr Scala enjoys the confidence of a wide range of constituents within and outside of FIFA and has all the knowledge and experience necessary to help tackle these major reforms.

"It is my deep care for FIFA and its interests, which I hold very dear, that has led me to take this decision. I would like to thank those who have always supported me in a constructive and loyal manner as president of FIFA and who have done so much for the game that we all love.

"What matters to me more than anything is that when all of this is over, football is the winner."

Read more: Gary Lineker sarcastically praises FIFA as an "upstanding organisation" following Blatter resignation

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