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'Football fan' Angela Merkel welcomes Sepp Blatter's resignation


Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel

AFP/Getty Images

Angela Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed Sepp Blatter's stepping down, saying it was "now more possible that Fifa's work could be conducted on a more transparent basis".

Speaking at a news conference in Berlin, she told reporters that as a football fan herself, "this is an important message".

In Washington, the White House said that recent revelations have made it clear that Fifa could benefit from new leadership.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Mr Blatter's resignation is an opportunity for soccer's governing body to improve its public image and ensure its actions are consistent with its mission. He said decisions about how to do that must be left up to members of Fifa.

The White House has carefully avoided weighing in on the Fifa scandal amid the ongoing US federal investigation into soccer corruption. Earnest said he had no special knowledge about the investigation and that prosecutors are operating independently.

Blatter announced his decision to resign on Tuesday as the worst corruption crisis in Fifa's 111-year history continued to unfold.

Meanwhile, Paraguay's president is calling on Congress to overturn a law that gives immunity to the headquarters of the South American Football Federation.

A statement from the foreign ministry said that President Horacio Cartes wants the law overturned because the federation, known as Conmebol, should not be afforded the same rights as an embassy.

Irish Independent