FIFA sponsors call for Sepp Blatter’s resignation
FIFA sponsors have come out in force demanding Sepp Blatter's instant resignation from his presidency role.
Sepp Blatter's FIFA presidency until the election next February was looking increasinly undefendable on Friday night as world football's largest sponsors called for his immediate resignation.
Heavyweight backers McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Budweiser and VISA put added pressue on Blatter as they voiced their strongest calls yet for him to step down.
The 79-year-old found himself under criminal proceedings from the Swiss Attorney General’s office a week ago over a £1.35million payment to UEFA chief Michel Platini and a TV rights deal with the disgraced former FIFA executive Jack Warner.
But Blatter's US-based attorney said in a statement from New York that his client will not resign.
The 79-year-old Swiss administrator is due to leave his post in February after agreeing to step aside in the wake of the scandal that rocked FIFA in May.
Blatter has already resisted calls for him to go immediately from politicians and other leading footballing figures but with three major sponsors now joining the bandwagon he may find his position quickly becomes untenable.
While Blatter believes his departure would not be in FIFA’s best interest or advance needed reforms of the organisation, the sponsors’ opinions differ.
Friday’s statement by the Swiss Office of the Attorney General makes it the first time that authorities investigating corruption in soccer have pointed the finger directly at Blatter, who has led the FIFA body for the past 17 years.
He has denied wrongdoing and his U.S. attorney said he was cooperating with the Swiss probe.
The scandal erupted earlier this year in May, with the indictment of 14 soccer officials and sports marketing executives. They were indicted on US charges of racketeering, money laundering and wire fraud in relations to bribery schemes that dated back decades.